By: Justin Zulu
There is no doubt Glenelg's junior class is going places; some just happen to already know where.
Throughout the fall and winter, nine student-athletes announced their verbal commitments to eight Division-I schools to continue their athletic careers.
Lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer programs so far have talked to and contacted multiple standout athletes in the junior class. These athletes include AJ Eyre, Kamryn Henson, Ava Hernandez, Lara Hoeflich, Chloe Key, Ashley Kim, Kate Kim, Stephanie Lathrop, Maggie Metz, and Holland Swope.
NCAA Division I coaches can contact female lacrosse student-athletes beginning September 1 of their junior year via verbal offers, emails, calls, texts, and recruiting letters. This change was caused after a study that found that 81 percent of women’s lacrosse student-athletes had their first recruiting contact with a coach prior to the start of their junior year. Lacrosse had the highest rate of early recruiting when compared to the other ten NCAA sanctioned women’s sports.
For field hockey and soccer, NCAA Division I coaches can contact athletes starting June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year, including verbal offers, emails, calls, texts, and recruiting letters.
These decisions affect these athlete’s futures heavily and prove to be an exciting new chapter in their lives.
AJ Eyre - Field hockey
Committed to: University of Maryland
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: The most exciting part to start off my committing process was the phone calls and direct communication between me and the coaches. I sent my first couple emails when I was in 6th grade, and there are restrictions that the coaches have about contacting the athletes at a super young age. I really enjoyed seeing the different schools that had interest in me and the different opportunities. The official visits I also enjoyed because I got to experience the coaches, players, facilities, etc. first hand. And overall, got to experience what campus is really like.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: One of the most stressful parts of the early process is closing down the opportunities that other schools give you. At such a young age, we have no clue where our heads will be at 2 years from now and its stressful to choose a school 2 years prior. People change and you have to make a decision that you think is best for you now and when your time has come. My process started in the summer and ran into school/field hockey season so balancing school work and sports was stressful during a time where I was trying to make this huge decision. But eventually I found time and made a schedule that was very helpful when trying to organize calls, visits, and school work.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: It's a process. You don’t just get a call and commit right away. Every phone call, every text, every visit is another step towards an offer or a goal you want to achieve. When I first started, my original list was not the exact same as the list I had created when June 15 came around. You have to be prepared for schools that you loved the most to not be interested and for other schools you've never heard of to reach out and show lots of interest. Not closing any doors and keeping your options open is very important throughout this process, so keep an open mind. When I got down to my final two schools, the whole week was very stressful and I was constantly going back and forth, debating this school or this school and going through the pros and cons. Overall the hardest part of the process is when you have to call the one school and respectfully decline and thank them for going through this process with you. But in the end calling the school you choose and accepting is the most freeing, stress relieving, and ecstatic feeling that this process if over with and your next couple years are set. Taking your time and thinking about all the factors is the biggest advice I have for someone coming into this process, it's a huge decision and make sure to go with your gut.
Kamryn Henson - lacrosse
Committed to: Virginia Tech University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: Getting it over with because it was stressful.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: Dealing with calls and balancing it with school and staying focused on one thing. The process was was very stressful. It felt like time was going by so slow. I personally committed very early, only 11 days into the process so I am very thankful but it was difficult to be patient and not take the first choice I was considering. It was so stressful between certain schools you wanted not calling you and the amount of schools calling you. Even so, I am very thankful to be given the opportunity to be a part of this process
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Even if you want to commit, don't rush it. Email the school all summer if you really want to go there so they know for sure you are interested.
ava hernandez - lacrosse
Committed to: Long Island University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: I didn't really know much about LIU and was just going to go, but the feeling of finally finding the school that was fit for me after visiting many other schools that just weren't the ones is something that you just can't explain. Knowing that I was wanted and my hard work paid off was one of the most exciting parts.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: The most stressful part was the waiting process, as many schools/ programs do their recruiting differently. It is hard to have patience and not jump the gun on one program. Also emailing can become very stressful because sometimes I didn't know who to email or I would procrastinate and have to try and do it all in one day.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Try not to focus on your friends' recruiting process because everyone's is different and some go a lot faster than others. Go into everything with an open mind because you might miss out on something that could have been great for you if you go into it with a bad attitude. There might be moments that you feel like you are just running out of time or options, so make sure that when you feel these emotions talk to your coaches and your parents as they can help you figure out other options and explore more schools. Your parents and coaches will be very important during this process so make sure you don't close yourself off and try and do it all on your own. Don't feel like you have to go to every single camp or prospect day. So many schools email you about them to get more money. Lastly, September 1 can be the most stressful time of your life. Everyone is talking about this day and hyping it up. Everyone's September 1 will be different. Some people might get calls at midnight that day or some might get emails a week later. Don’t think your process is going to go how September 1 went because there is so much more to come later on.
lara hoeflich - lacrosse
Committed to: University of Delaware
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: 'There is a feeling that you get on your visit.' People used to say that to me all the time before I was committed and I really didn't believe them, but when I was at Delaware I was positive that was where I wanted to go. Honestly the best part of committing early is the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you make your final decision, because for most of us it is something that we have been working towards for more than half our lives.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: The recruiting process is certainly not an easy thing to go through, there is so much self-inflicted pressure that goes into the summer before your junior year and September first. The recruiting world is a business and schools are selling themselves to an athlete, it's tricky to know what fits you and if you're making the right choices. It's hard to keep your confidence up during this experience schools can completely stop talking to you, and that can make an impact on a player.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: I can not stress this enough that every person's recruiting process looks different, people will commit before you and after and it is super important to not compare yourself to others. Keep an open mind and talk to every school that reaches out to you, don't shut anyone down, it is a good thing to have options. Most importantly, continuing to work on your sport, training and practicing your skills, as well as keeping up your grades, good grades can attract certain schools.
chloe key - lacrosse
Committed to: Monmouth University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: Besides being relieved from the dreaded college application process, I think one of the most enjoyable parts of committing is the ability to start making relationships with your teammates and coaches that you’ll spend the next four years with. You’ll hear many athletes talk about how it feels like a weight was lifted off their shoulders, which is hard to imagine, but seeing the endless hours that you spent training finally pay off is a true reward.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: The most challenging part of committing was finding a school that had a perfect balance of all my criteria. Though finding a school that you’ll fit in with on the field is important, academics, location, and other factors have to be equally weighed in. It’s also hard coming to the realization that you may not fit at a school that you dreamed of going to your whole life. It can be frustrating playing an off game when you had a school’s coach you really loved watching on the sideline. Trust the process. Everyone finds their place.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Having motivation is truly the key to success in most aspects of life, but I would say even more specifically in sports. Finding your last bits of energy to go play wall ball, or doing Maryland runs is what will essentially help you to succeed in the long run. Also, take every opportunity to put yourself out there in front of coaches and respond to ALL schools. Even if you don’t see yourself playing at a school, you never know their relationships with other coaches. Don’t let the pressure of committing take away from the process. Take your time and find a school that you can see yourself thriving at for the next four years.
ashley kim - field hockey
Committed to: Columbia University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: Going on visits, and committing was a stress reliever. I'm glad I don’t have to worry that much about college applications now.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: The whole entire thing. All I thought about for like 3 years was Field Hockey.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Keep the pool of schools you’re looking at really broad. Email everyone and send highlight videos whenever you get the chance. Also, go to a lot of showcases and clinics to get seen.
Kate kim - field hockey
Committed to: Columbia University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: Being able to meet new players and coaches to see what college will fit the best with me.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: Feeling that the process will never end. Don’t worry, it does though!
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Work hard - there is a school out there for you.
Stephanie lathrop - soccer
Committed to: Purdue University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: The recruiting process was good. It was a long process that started in 7th grade when I started sending out emails, before the coaches could even talk to me. I wasn’t really stressed as much as I was overwhelmed. But now, there's nothing better than the feeling of knowing that I picked the right school for me and knowing that I’m going to the school I love! Also it was so fun to go on visits and when I visited Purdue. It all clicked!
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: Playing well in showcases before freshman year because coaches were watching me before I could talk to them.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Enjoy the process and if you love the sport you will find the school you love. It’s super fun to talk to coaches and visit schools so enjoy it and don’t stress about it.
Maggie metz - lacrosse
Committed to: Old Dominion University
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: My most enjoyable part of the process was knowing all my hard work paid off after months of trying to find the right fit. I did not want to go to the ODU prospect day originally, but I fell in love with it as soon as I got there and knew I had to make it my future. When you find the right college you just know. People explain it as the same feeling as finding the right wedding dress. You just know. One of the best parts and just knowing that you are done having to send emails and you have all this pressure taken off when you is very relieving.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: Most stressful was making sure you are sending emails before and after each tournament. Also watching coaches sit on your sideline constantly showing up and leaving, never knowing what they are thinking. Watching others commit to their team can be stressful, but just because they happened to find their school earlier does not mean you are worse or your late.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Take your time; there is no need to rush the process. Take every call or email no matter if you want to go to the school or not - you never know. Finally, don't worry what others on your team are doing in their commitment process; everyone's process is different.
Holland swope - lacrosse
Committed to: University of Indianapolis
Most enjoyable/exciting part of the early commit process: Traveling to schools I would be committing to, meeting my future teammates and getting closer to the coaches and learning what their values are as a community.
Most stressful/challenging part of the early commit process: For my position, specifically goalie, it was really hard because coaches either wanted me or they didn't want me, and some pretended like they would want me and then ghost me the next day.
Advice for any rising junior hoping to commit early: Have fun while you're going places and meeting people because a lot of them you will be playing with. Don’t stress too much because you're going to have fun no matter what.