The Next Move

Alyssa Breunig ’16
EE Staff Writer

2000px-NCAA_logo.svgThe NCAA states that, “Eight million students are currently participating in high school sports. Only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools. Of that group only a fraction of them will reach their goal of becoming a professional athlete.” So why is it so difficult to not only compete at the professional level but the collegiate one as well?

Mr King, Athletic Director, says “About 20-30 students of the 500 students of the class of 2016 will play competitively in college. Only 7 or 8 will play Division I or II. This is because collegiate sports are so competitive and time consuming.” To play college sports requires a lot of time and commitment. It means preseason and postseason training, 5 am workouts, conditioning, three hour practices, long bus rides, and games every week. All of that and classes and school work. Many high school athletes choose not to compete at the collegiate level because they feel like they won’t be able to balance sports and school. Mia Hampford, captain of the volleyball team, says, “Sports in high school are great but at the college level they would be too big a commitment for me. I want to get all my work done, and still have some free time. I don’t want to always be concerned with constant practices and games. Although I love sports, I value sleep and school more.”

For some athletes balancing school and sports is difficult but for others they like the challenge. Joyce Woolen, a former THS athlete, who currently plays basketball at Goucher College, says “At first it is very difficult balancing school and sports. Time management is a skill you have to learn in order to survive in college. The hardest day of the week is having 6 am practice and then going to a three hour lab afterwards. It’s hard but playing a sport actually helps me focus on my work more because I know I only have a certain time frame to get my work done.” Many college athletes agree and believe that although its time consuming, it’s worth it. Kate O’Leary, former THS athlete and current basketball player at The College of New Jersey, says, “I was really good at managing my time in high school but college is a whole new level. The classes are harder and the practices are longer. It is an extremely big transition but you get used to it.”

Becoming a college athlete is extremely difficult. Not only do you need to maintain the high skill level and grades the school requires, but you need to find the college that is the right fit for you academically and athletically. That means you need to find a school with your intended major, school size you’re interested in, school environment, and the sports program you want to be apart of. Sean Teixeira, a senior and soccer player committed to Villanova University says, “I cut my list to a final 4 schools and from there it was really tough. I liked all the schools and could see myself at all of them. Ultimately I just saw that Villanova showed the most excitement about having me on the team and that I could be most successful there.” Although it was easy to figure out what was best for him some athletes are not as fortunate in finding a college that suits them. Sydney Adams, senior and First Team All State volleyball player says, “It has been difficult for me finding the right college because I have only looked at the schools that I have talked to the coaches there. It’s also hard finding a school with my major and a good volleyball program.”

Pursuing sports after high school is not as easy as it looks. It is a lot of time and work but if you really put your mind to it you can be successful athletically and academically.

 

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