Recruited athletes train over the summer


Adam Frommer and Rowan Mally

Notable school alumni Pedro Alvarez ‘05 and Harrison Bader ‘12 have taken their games to the highest stage and become successful in Major League Baseball. Bader was recently called up from Triple-A to the St. Louis Cardinals and Alvarez has played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles.

This year, athletes of the class of 2020, such as Kiara Royer (12), a member of the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team, Ishaan Kanaan (12), a member of the Boys’ Varsity Tennis Team, Stephen Sloan (12), a member of the Varsity Golf Team, Julian Rabkin (12), a member of the Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Team, and Ella Anthony (12), a member of the Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team all played on the school’s teams and hope to be recruited.

The process of college recruitment often starts early in their high school careers as athletes attend showcase camps and clinics where college coaches look for potential recruits. Students then communicate with college coaches to show their interest and to learn more about the coach and team. These coaches then decide who to recruit to the team, an action that involves helping a student-athlete through the admissions process.

Most student-athletes of the school, such as Royer, who has played soccer for 10 years, strive to continue playing their sport in college but may not play at a professional level.

“I don’t plan on playing soccer seriously after college, so I really want to commit to a college soccer program that allows me to take the sport seriously while also having fun like a regular college student,” Royer said. Royer started attending clinics the summer after her freshman year, and has attended around 15 clinics in total, she said.

Unlike Royer, Ishaan Kanaan (12) hopes to someday play tennis in professional or international tournaments and improving in college is an important step for reaching an extraordinarily high level, he said. Kanaan has been playing tennis for over eight years both in out-of-school tournaments and on the middle and high school teams at the school.

“I’ve put in a lot of work to improve,” he said. “At this point, it means a lot to me and I don’t want to give it up.”

Sloan has played golf since he was little, but started to practice more and play competitively once he was in high school, he said. “The game is huge in my family. My dad and grandparents exposed me to the game at a very young age, and I have been passionate about it ever since.”

Anthony joined her first basketball team in fifth or sixth grade but decided to take basketball seriously in eighth grade, she said. “I began to love it so much. Working out every day, I had dreams of playing in college but I didn’t know if I could.” In the summer before her sophomore year, Anthony realized she would be good enough to compete at a high level.

Anthony made the decision to move schools for this year, she said. “Leaving [the school] was a hard decision, but I realized I had to make sacrifices to accomplish my dream.” She mostly decided to leave in order to surround herself with more serious players, she said. “In order to be the best, you have to play against the best.”

Maya Scholnick ’18, a former member of the school’s Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team, knew she wanted to play soccer in college when she was in eighth grade. While the process was time-consuming, she committed to Amherst College in February of her junior year. As long as she kept her grades up and achieved a certain ACT score there wasn’t much to worry about going into senior year, she said.

While the recruitment process is vital in order to continue competing at a high level, the system can be incredibly difficult and stressful, Sloan said.

For Royer, being recruited to play soccer and other team sports is a difficult process because every team is looking to recruit athletes specifically for certain positions in the game, such as goalkeepers or specific types of defenders, she said. “While I may be talented enough to play at a certain school, they may not need my position and therefore they don’t need me as a player and I won’t get offered a spot,” Royer said. The recruitment process can be difficult to manage when balancing schoolwork, contacting coaches, staying fit, and attending soccer practices, she said.

So far, Rabkin, who has been playing lacrosse for seven years, has created a video showcase of himself, attended recruiting events, and created a student profile of himself for colleges to look at.

While coaches at the school are involved in students’ athletic careers, students tend to work with their out-of-school teams and coaches for the recruitment process, Kanaan said.

On the other hand, Chidi Nwankpa ’18, a former member of the Boys’ Track Team, enjoyed his recruitment process. “Talking to coaches and visiting schools and teams was a super fun experience,” he said. “I wanted to run in college so I could alleviate the stress of paying for it and getting into a good school,” Nwankpa, who attends Lafayette University, said.

For Scholnick, choosing schools wasn’t simply about the athletic department. “It was all about the balance between academics and athletics, as I wanted to be able to engage in other things during college while still playing at a competitive level,” she said.