Get Your Head in the Game: The Road to College Athletics

Jemma Kim, editor in chief

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Amanda Guercio – junior softball player

Amanda Guercio, a junior softball player is someone who has gotten a head start on her college career. Even though Guercio is only a junior, she plays on a recruitment team which plays in tournaments which many college coaches watching.

“[The college coaches] just kinda watch you play, and then sometimes you can go to their camps to show off your skills without all the pressure of games. If they’re interested in you, then they’ll come and talk to your coach and they’ll say that this college is interested in you and then you can email them and send them videos, and you can call them if you want, but they can’t call you until after September first of your junior year,” Guercio said.

Guercio has gotten offers by various coaches to come visit what their campus has to offer. During an “unofficial visit,” athletes can be shown around campus and ask the coach questions about scholarships.

“I’ve gone to a couple camps at Bradley University and University of Wisconsin Green Bay and Miami of Ohio and University of Green Bay in Wisconsin.  They invite you so you can meet their staff, the team, check out the campus and everything. If you get invited to a visit, it’s a good sign that they want you for one of their recruits.”

Shawn Chervets, senior soccer player

As Chervets enters his senior year, he is starting to finalize the recruitment process and learning how to deal with the pressures of college athletics.  Many seniors like Chervets have coaches starting to visit them at games and recruit them for their teams.

“[College recruitment] a great experience because you feel like someone wants you to be part of their school. You feel like you can make a difference at their school and help their team. It’s a really good feeling.”

However, the recruitment experience comes with the pressures of playing. As a goalkeeper, Chervets has to work extra hard to keep his team on top.

[The pressure] is pretty tough. A lot of people don’t really expect much from a younger person, but when you get into college you’re kinda put with a lot of pressure, especially being a goalkeeper; you’re the playmaker of the game, so it’s a lot harder,” Chervets said.

Colton Moskal, college junior

Colton Moskal, 2013 LZHS graduate is a college athlete who got recruited freshmen year but then decided to switch schools before his sophomore year.  He played football at Syracuse University his freshmen year but decided to transfer to University of Pennsylvania his sophomore year.

“I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to play college football by multiple schools. To be honest, I never felt any pressure. My coaches and teammates played a big role in kinda taking that pressure off of my shoulders. Of course, my friends and family also helped to get me grounded and focused during this time. I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today without them,” Moskal said.

Some athletes might consider lots of factors when deciding to continue athletics in college. Some athletes may even decide to participate in club or intramural sports rather than playing on the official college team.

“My college career has been a little bit of a whirlwind.  My freshman year at Syracuse I redshirted to put on weight and gain an extra year of eligibility. [But this year,] me and my family decided it was in my best interest to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, I am entering my sophomore year at Penn.  I committed to Syracuse because I loved the way that the coaches coached, the vision that they had for the future, and the family atmosphere around the program. Also, I had already built a friendship with some of the other commits via text and social media. I made the decision to transfer to Penn because being able to attend a world-renowned university like that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. A degree from there would open doors for me and my family later in life. While at Syracuse, I realized that football wasn’t going to last forever. I needed the best education that I could possibly get to back me up when I’m done on the field,” Moskal said.

When deciding to play participate in college athletics, one should consider their academic goals as well. While sports may be a big part of life now, they may not be four years later. Moskal wants other athletes to think ahead and picture how athletics will fit in the future.

“If I could go back and offer advice to athletes who are going through the recruiting process, I would tell them to be selfish. I would tell them to do what’s best for them and not to listen to where the media and other people want them to go. I would also push the importance of academics. This is not just a 4 year decision, it is a 40 year decision. So, do what’s best for you and find the school that fits you best, both academically and athletically. Playing a sport in college is a fun and exciting time. For kids looking to go down this path, don’t get caught up in the lights. Being a student athlete takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication. Most of all, never forget where you come from and never forget the people who have helped you along the way.”