To the Big Leagues

A look into the process behind senior athletes committing to colleges.

Kieran Malloy and Savannah Armistead

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For many high schoolers, the process of choosing a school to attend after high school is a daunting task. For a select few students an additional aspect that needs consideration is deciding which collegiate sports program they will dedicate the next four to five years of their life to. For many it is an exciting, yet intimidating experience. This year at Hickman, a whole crib of Kewpies have decided to take their athletic prowess to the next level.

“It was a very stressful process but I just kept thinking it’ll all pay off in the end so just keep a level head and stay positive,” explained baseball Cameron Chick. “You don’t want to disappoint anyone by choosing one over the other but you also have to go where you feel is best for you.”

Of course, like any other student, collegiate athletes must choose not only which program is the best fit for their skills, but also what type of school atmosphere is the best fit for their personality.

“I chose [Truman] because I really loved the campus and I loved the softball coach and it just felt like the right fit,” said senior softball second baseman, Taylor Spencer, who is committing to Truman State.

Like other students, deciding on the size and caliber of the school they want to attend is an extremely important factor in their decision process. The difference between a division one school and an NAIA school could affect both their athletic and academic careers in college. Often times students are forced to choose whether they want to compete at the highest level possible, and at the same time sacrifice some of their academic focus, or to attend a school that allows them to pursue both their athletic and academic hopes, but possibly without the excitement in allure of “big school” athletics.

“Competition is always been a huge part in pushing me to better myself and being able to have the chance to prove myself a monks the best college baseball teams in the country is something I’m extremely eager for,” said senior baseball pitcher Trae Robertson. Robertson is the number one pitcher in the state of Missouri and one of the top prospects in this class, with offers from nearly every Division One school in America.

While the “big schools” Division One athletics do have the allure of stardom and high competition, there are some athletes who find more comfort in smaller programs.

“I choose Crowder because I wanted to stay close to home and go to a smaller school to get more help with my education and I have a really great softball program” said senior softball outfielder and Crowder College commit Anabel Throckmorton.

When college athletes find the school that they believe is the best fit for them, often times it is a love at first sight type connection.

“I looked at all the other schools and compared it to Mizzou and it was just really hard to pass down,” said Mizzou commit, Caitlin Fogue. “I’m going to be in the best shape of my life and it’s going to be an awesome experience to grow as a player and learn more about the game. I love the game, there has never been a time where I didn’t want to go to practice. It’s always something I look forward to.”

The recruiting process for high school athletes is exhilarating, with high points at moments like their official decision, their visit to the school itself, and their signing day, such as the one this past month. Being so highly sought after for a skill at with you so hard on and dedicated so much of your youth to is an extremely rewarding and exciting feeling, as confirmed by our super kewpie signees.

“Out of the five colleges I received offers from, Nebraska was just a special place,” said Chick. “It also was an offer I just couldn’t refuse, but besides that the coaches they have on staff are incredible, lots of experience at a very high level and they are all very personable and they care about you as a person not just a baseball player. The Family atmosphere is what really got me when I went up there.”

Just because these athletes have chosen to take their game to new heights, doesn’t mean they’re quite ready to leave the nest. Like other students, deciding on the school for academic purposes, student athletes often decide to play close to home as a way of supporting and rallying their area and community. With six out of the eight signees at the Hickman Signing day committing to play at schools within two hours of their soon to be High school alma mater, it is evident that these players value bringing the best athletics and support to the community they live in.

“The comfort of staying at home takes a lot of pressure off. Columbia raised me and to be able to play for my hometown team and represent the community that brought me up is a truly honorable feeling,” said Robertson. “It feels like I have even more of a personal reason to go on that field and dominate.”

Robertson is not the only kewpie keeping his talents close to home.

“Mizzou has been a dream school of mine since sophomore year and when they showered interest it was like a dream come true. Mizzou wrestling is a top 5 program,” said Hickman wrestling captain and future Missouri Tiger, Jeremiah Kent. “Everything is perfect, I would be getting coached by a Olympic medalist and Mizzou is five minutes from my house, so it’s nice to always be able to have support from my family and coaches.”

The college recruiting process can impact student athletes number of ways, it can be both terrifying and exhilarating, but at the end of the day the opportunity for these students to continue the sport they love so much is an opportunity that cannot be put into words.

“Growing up in Columbia, I’ve gotten a really good feel for the atmosphere that comes with Mizzou. There’s going to be a really special feeling being on the other side of all that and I can’t wait to get on that field and do what I love in front of the people I love,” said Kent.

Hickman has consistently produced impressive quality athletes, many of which have gone on to compete even after college, and all of which who have either supported the Hickman reputation, or the community around our school. This class of athletes looks to surpass even those accomplishments and leave a legacy of the Kewp Dawg all its own.

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