Blake High School is home to a number of incredible athletes looking to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level. Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the recruitment process and the incredible journeys of our student athletes.
The passion that these dedicated athletes have for their respective sports was fascinating to hear about. Nearly every student I spoke to told me that the community and teamwork aspect was their favorite part of their athletic experience.
“The environment at practice is always good, it’s just everyone trying to help each other improve,” said senior Ethan Badrian, who is committed to University of North Carolina Wilmington for diving.
The level of dedication that comes with playing a sport in college can be overwhelming. That’s why the community aspect of sports is so important—it gives you a support system of like-minded people. Badrian knows that he wants to be surrounded by a positive community as he continues his diving career, which is why he chose to commit to UNCW for its friendly and supportive environment.
Senior swimmer Nigel Cacho is committed to Salisbury University for swimming. “Know [that] you love your sport,” Cacho says. “Really think about it…because playing a sport in college is definitely different from a highschool team”.
Cacho, who has been swimming for over 10 years, wants to continue his athletic career in college because he thinks that it will be simultaneously both fun and challenging. Cacho chose to swim for Salisbury because he loved the team and supportive environment when he visited the school. He knows that his team will motivate him to keep up with a healthy schedule in college.
Jordan Foster, who has played soccer for almost 15 years, has received multiple offers to play in college. Being recruited and given scholarships makes him feel proud, like all of his hard work has paid off. Foster loves the brotherhood aspect of his sport; he enjoys being in the company of people who are equally as passionate as he is about soccer.
Ella Zeigler is a cross country and track athlete who has 5 Division I offers to run in college. Zeigler offered some valuable advice for anyone pursuing a sport in college.
“The best way to get recruited is to start emailing colleges you are interested in as soon as possible,” Zeigler said.
She went on to explain that college recruiters want the “whole package,” so make sure to keep your grades up and focus on self-improvement.
The star runner continues to challenge herself both in school and her sport. “‘Student’ comes first in ‘student athlete,’” Zeigler advised.
Although the work that goes into playing a sport at such a high level can be overwhelming, basketball player Nyla Thomas encourages athletes to enjoy every moment of the process. Especially with the toll the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on student athletes, it’s important to appreciate every game and practice.
“Take your time and really live in the moment, because with everything we have been through with this pandemic, you never know when [your season] could come to an end,” Thomas advised.
The recruitment process is hard, there’s no doubt about that. But when you love a sport, dedicating yourself to it is completely worthwhile. Good luck to all of our senior athletes!