Terra Linda is filled with talented athletes, but there are few who are truly committed to their sport. Students like Halle Morris, Nathaniel Cunnan, Makaela Keeve, Savannah Jones, and Lomax Turner have dedicated many of their high school years playing sports on the side, and have had the privilege of committing to a university for sports.
The process for college recruitment begins much earlier than the normal college application process. These athletes explain that it is definitely much more stressful, but also a relief because it is decided so soon. At the beginning of high school, most students already have an idea that they want to pursue a sport in college. Recruitment normally begins at the start of junior year, when students start to look at colleges they would want to attend and are in contact with various coaches. This is followed by a recruit trip, where the schools invite the student to visit the campus and its many facilities, focusing on the sport that they will go after. After submitting their paperwork through admissions, the school makes a decision on the student’s status.
Halle Morris, who committed to Duke University for swimming, says, “I felt relieved because I knew where I wanted to go and committed late September. I think it’s definitely a step up, I’m excited to meet new people and have the new swimmers push me to be my best self.” Makaela Keeve, who committed to Chico State University early senior year for volleyball, felt a mix of different emotions. “Despite wanting to go to this school, I felt anxious and nervous because it was a big decision to make. I’m definitely excited because it’s going to be new and interesting, but it’ll be a good experience as well as a learning experience.” Savannah Jones committed to Georgetown University for softball her sophomore year, and she explains that because the process began so early for her, she was able to finish all the requirements needed for admissions; thus, making the rest of high school smooth sailing.
These students were all introduced to their sport at some point in their youth, allowing them to pick up new skills as they grew over the years. Lomax Turner committed to Tufts University early senior year, and states that swimming was instantly something he loved as a kid, allowing him to realize that it was what he wanted to continue in college. He adds that it’s “a huge time commitment, but if you’re serious about it, it’s worth it.” Senior Nathaniel Cunnan, a swimmer on the Marin Pirates alongside Turner, recently committed to University of Pennsylvania. He describes the anticipation of getting a final answer and how nervous it made him. As soon as he got the call, he was ecstatic. “I was pretty nervous for two weeks before, and then when I did get in it was all over from there- I just thought ‘we’re into college now, we’re good’ so I felt a lot of relief.”
As a college athlete, look for the school that fits best with a good balance of sports, school, social life, and extracurricular activities. Lomax Turner explains that his process of picking schools was conflicting, but after two recruitment trips to Georgetown and Tufts University, the answer was clearer. “Division 3 is a lot more chill,” he states, “it’s more academics over swim, there is less competition [at Tufts] and it just seemed more my level.”
Starting a sport young plays a key role because it allows one to grow in the sport, and later realize if it is something worth doing for more time. By the time high school rolls around, athletes are prepared for the effort to put into the college recruitment process. Makaela Keeve advises, “Keep your grades up, and definitely prepare early. Don’t expect things to just fall into your lap. You have to go out and create your own opportunities, and motivate yourself to be a better person.” Playing a sport in college requires a lot of time and effort, but for the dedicated athletes out there who love their sport, putting in all the work will be completely worth it.