High school athletes commit to colleges and receive athletic scholarships

Gannyn Dunn, Editor

Juniors and seniors are starting to make or finalize their plans for their lives after high school. Whether it be deciding, applying or committing to colleges, upperclassmen are making choices affecting their academic and athletic futures. 

Senior Blair Hall committed to New York University in November of 2020 for swimming in an abnormal way, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Recruiting was pretty unusual in 2020,” Hall said. “Before lockdown I was going on visits to schools to meet their coaches and see the facilities, but that transitioned to Zoom meetings. I had a couple decisions to make, but NYU ended up being the best choice for me.”

Hall is feeling many emotions in regards to her upcoming college experience. She is excited to have new experiences and meet new people, but is nervous to compete at a higher level. To prepare for this new level of competition, Hall is training on her own time. 

“For swimming, I’m preparing myself by training as much as possible before I go, Hall said. “I don’t think there is a lot I can do to prepare myself to leave my home though.”

Junior Rian Finley has also committed to a high-performance school for her sport: volleyball. Finley committed to the University of Colorado Boulder in June of 2020, and feels as though it is the perfect place for her to continue and grow her volleyball career. 

Like Hall’s recruiting experience, Finley’s was also interrupted by COVID-19 and the ripples it created.

“Summer going into freshman year, I played for USA and got to meet many collegiate coaches, one of them being the assistant coach for CU,” Finley said. “They recruited me throughout my freshman and sophomore year, with many phone calls, unofficial visits, and virtual tours with the coaches. Once COVID hit last year, it impacted the recruiting process significantly and D1 schools were no longer allowed to watch us play. June 15th, colleges were finally allowed to have phone calls with recruits, and after many phone calls with other colleges, I decided that CU Boulder was the place I was meant to be, and committed shortly after.”

Finley has big goals in mind when it comes to competing at CU, and is hoping to achieve them through hard work and a good headspace. She is very excited to compete at such a high level, and to be instructed by talented coaches. 

“CU has been in the NCAA tournament multiple times, with close but unsuccessful attempts at winning the tournament,” Finley said. “It has always been a huge dream of mine to win the tournament and bring that title back to Boulder. I’m planning on going into CU with that mentality that it is a possibility and can happen if I work hard enough.”

Having committed to Santa Clara University for baseball during his junior year, senior Sam Smith has been working very hard in order to be ready for everything that comes with playing for a Division 1 college.

“Getting ready for college has been a grind,” Smith said. “We play every day except Sunday and we’ve played around 100 games before our season has even started.”

Although it comes with a lot of hard work, Smith is looking forward to the new experience, and has set some goals for himself.

“Some of my goals for when I’m at college will be to be a hard worker, to be the best friend and teammate that I can be, and to have fun,” Smith said. “I’m stoked to see what’s to come in the future.”