Moving On Up

Benjamin McKnight III, Sports Editor

As early as elementary school, many kids look up to athletic superstars as their idols. For some, they try their best to reach the same pinnacle of greatness as their favorite sports star. Part of that process requires, for many sports, continuing one’s athletic career through college. While not all young people are blessed to be great athletes in their sports, a good number of high school seniors ink their Letter of Intent every year, promising them the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level.

The road to becoming a college athlete isn’t an easy one. Many kids have to spend much of their free time practicing more at their sport to become excellent, or they’ll competing with travel teams and attend combines to get more exposure to college scouts. “I had to first get on a travel Lacrosse team. My coaches made contact with Frostburg, and they came to watch me and they liked me,” said Marissa Howk (’12), a member of the girls lacrosse team. For athletes that aren’t Division I caliber, or compete in lower money-making sports, they also have to rely on constant contact with the schools they aspire to go to. Senior Soccer star Nicole McCarthy, who will be attending Wingate University next fall, stated “I have to talk to the assistant coach once a week to let her know my workout schedules and what I’m doing on my own.” Staying on top of all aspects of one’s career, including the academic portion, is key to keeping an offer earned from a school. “[The] coaches want players that can also do well academically,” McCarthy added.

While being recruited, many students will go through a wide range of emotions in the process, from excitement to stress, depending on the chances of them reaching their aspired goal. “The recruitment process for me was fun, but also serious,” stated Toan “Zach” Nguyen (’12), a football player who will be taking his talents to Marietta College in Ohio. For him, the reality of playing college football made his process fun, while it was serious “Because, when making my decision, I knew I needed a good relationship with the coaches and be comfortable with the environment of the school.” McCarthy said that, after applying to the school, “I went down for a visit and had a practice with the team.” Because the next few years of the athlete’s life will be heavily involved with their team, the choice will be one that they shouldn’t regret, and any little detail has to be considered.

Not every person gets the chance to be an athlete after their high school. For those who do, the process leading up to that point is usually long and time consuming, but eventually gratifying. Once a player realizes his or her talent and has an aspiration to play at the collegiate level, dedication and maintaining current success will help their chances for their future. For future North Point athletes who want to play their sport in college, McCarthy advises “If you have an athletic dream, go for it, but stay focused in everything else as well.” “Work hard and be dedicated,” adds Nguyen.