Seventeen-year-old Trevena Bennett ’14 enters the room wearing a big smile and pastel-colored sundress. Beneath her amiable exterior lies a fierce young woman unafraid to take risks regardless of the potential outcome. A sport she reluctantly took up after encouragement from her father at the early age of six, basketball has since become a lifelong passion for Bennett whose viewpoint changed when she enlisted in a program at the Boys & Girls Club in her hometown of Union, N.J. This warrior on the basketball court gained invaluable experience by facing hundreds of older athletes—both male and female—throughout her childhood. She will continue to compete among the best as the newest member of Bentley University's NCAA Division II championship team in the fall.
With her family, friends and coaches proudly looking on yesterday morning, Bennett signed an official National Letter of Intent with the Bentley University women's basketball team on the very same court she got her start. “I fell in love with basketball at that gym,” says Bennett, “going from a little girl too scared to fall to her knees to someone who now has no problem sliding on the floor and hustling despite the bruises that may ensue. I played with older boys and girls until I was a freshman in high school.”
Since joining Gill St. Bernard's School in 2010, Bennett has proven to be a top defender for the Knights, often called upon by her coaches to hinder the opponent's most dominating offensive player. “Anytime we need to shut down the other team’s best player, Trevena does just that,” says Head Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach Josuf Dema. “She’s a true vocal leader, always willing to step up and help when her teammates may not be at their best.”
Bennett concluded her high school basketball career with 837 points, despite cutting her last season short after shattering a knuckle against Lodi Immaculate on February 18. While Bennett credits GSB for enabling her to grow as a leader and positive role model among her peers, she attributes much of what she has learned about the sport and helping others from her father, Lorne Bennett, who passed away in late March. “My father was my biggest motivation,” says Bennett. “He always inspired me to follow my dreams and pursue whatever I wanted to do.”
Living by his sound advice, Bennett shares plans to double major in business and marketing as well as minor in sports management during college, hoping to someday run her own athletics facility to benefit the local community. Although the city of Boston played a huge factor in Bennett's overall college choice, it was the loyalty of the Bentley athletics program, coaches and players alike, that affirmed her final decision. “From day one, they were open, honest and made me feel comfortable, like I was at home,” she says. “My future teammates, especially, have become like sisters already, sending their love through text messages and cards during this difficult time. I look forward to strengthening this bond on the court with them next year.”