WHS seniors commit to colleges for sports and academics


Nevaeh Yancey & Sienna Nino, Staff Writers

   While many seniors select colleges largely due to their academic reputations and offerings, some at WHS balance that criteria with the opportunity to continue playing sports at the collegiate level.  From golf to soccer to fencing to track, the range of WHS athletes recruited to play college sports is extensive. 

   Seniors like JP Noone, who is committed to Tufts University for golf, made sure to consider the strong academic assets of the school along with the sport for which he was recruited.

   “I ultimately chose Tufts because it seemed like an ideal balance between academics and athletics,” said Noone. “For a school like Tufts, academics still come first. Every coach I spoke to during the recruiting process made this very clear to me.” 

   Senior Julia Barber, who was recruited to the University of Rochester for soccer, also made sure to recognize the other factors of her school besides just the sport.

   “I chose this university because it fits everything I want in a college: size, location, academics, etc.  I am happy that I am able to continue playing soccer at a high level at the college of my choice,” said Barber.

   Guidance counselors at WHS also assist students in developing their understanding about a school’s academic focus for athletes as well as how it will impact their overall experience. 

   “[At some colleges] athletes will have mandatory study halls, but not every school has the same support. Asking the students how they feel about the academics at that school is important,” said Chrispoher Shanhan, guidance counselor. 

   Chloe Szeto, a fencer who is committed to Columbia University, is looking forward to the academic opportunities she will have at an Ivy League school.

    “I chose Columbia because of the incomparable educational institution. The core curriculum at Columbia emphasizes the importance of humanities courses and how skills learned from reading and writing can help us in the future,” Szeto said. 

    Szeto also looks forward to the top-notch fencing program. 

   “Columbia Fencing is home to champions. Because of this, I want to help the team become champions again. I want to be an NCAA champion or top four finisher. I want to grow as a fencer with the help of world-class athletes,” said Szeto.

   In a typical recruiting process, athletes go through several steps in order to earn a spot on the team. For some, the first part is an identification, or ID, camp. Barber experienced this when she was recruited for the University of Rochester women’s soccer team, the Yellowjackets.

    “I attended an ID camp for the University. This is a chance for the coach to see you play against others. After the ID camp, the coach texted me and scheduled a meeting over the phone,” Barber said. “During this phone call, she offered me a spot on the team and I verbally committed.” 

  Some students decide on where to commit based in part on a desire to expand their interests into areas they couldn’t pursue at WHS. Senior Kaitlyn Ewald, who is committed to Colby College for indoor and outdoor track and has been running since freshman year, is among those students. 

   “I wanted to go to a liberal arts college since Weston is a smaller school and doesn’t offer as many classes as some other bigger high schools. I want to be able to explore different things in college,”said Ewald. 

   Seniors have spent a lot of time deciding what they need to look for in colleges and how the sport that they play will affect their overall experience. Senior Olivia Jackson, who committed to NYU for cross country and track and field, has some advice for those looking to compete at the collegiate level.

   “My advice for getting committed would be to make sure that you really want to do the sport and are not planning to do the sport in college because of external reasons. Doing a college sport is very time-consuming, [so] you should be very passionate about it,” said  Jackson.