This past Wednesday, five students from Casady’s class of 2019 signed athletic scholarships to compete at the collegiate level in several divisions and leagues. These student-athletes plan to play and run at a range of schools from the west to east coast. As one can imagine, a unique level of commitment and passion lead these students to not only excel on the field or track, but tackle every class and academic hurdle that came their way. Many of us might wonder: How did they do it? I sat down with each of our future collegiate athletes to ask the questions that so many students and parents have asked themselves.
At what moment did you want to pursue playing at the next level?
“I never imagined not doing it, so it never was really a decision for me. I just always knew,” reflected Juliet Moncho (‘19), who will attend Dartmouth college this fall and play DI soccer in the Ivy league. However, some of our athletes needed further experience and the support of their coaches to develop confidence in their ability. Ruby Berryman (‘19), who will attend Washington University in St. Louis to run DIII track, confessed that she “was still on the fence [about her decision] a couple months ago.”
At what moment did you know you could pursue playing at the next level?
Berryman, like most of her fellow student-athletes, realized that “this [could] be a reality” once she compared her race times to that of current collegiate runners. However, the incentive for each of our athletes to contemplate and compare their ability to next-level athletes differed. Christian Campbell (‘19), who will run DIII track at Claremont McKenna College, noted that a phone call from a recruiter sparked his track towards collegiate athletics. Others, like Hallie Rieger (‘19), who committed to play DIII field hockey at Allegheny College, commented on the significant impact her friends and team’s encouragement had on her pursuit to play at the next-level.
Were there any family members, friends, coaches, or teammates, who were crucial to your recruitment process?
Amongst all of our collegiate athletes, a general consensus depicted their Casady coaches moving mountains for them, as our athletes followed their coaches’ lead in the recruitment process. Each athlete expressed that their coaches’ endless support and motivation carried them through not only their seasons, but each school year that they returned to improve. “I think if I would have stayed at Crossings, I would not have gotten this far,” concluded Campbell. Many also mentioned their parents’ consistent devotion and selfless investment towards their athletic endeavors, never planting “a seed of doubt” or “driving to Dallas three times a week,” as Moncho experienced.
Any inside tips for fellow athletes looking to pursue playing at the next level?
Many athletes looking to play or run at the next level could find themselves sitting down with their future coaches and advisors. In Berryman’s case, she found herself facing her future track coach alone. Thankfully, she came prepared, but recommends showing “them that you would be a good addition to their team through your actions and with positive energy.” She also mentioned to plan questions in advance, so that you can display your investment in the team to your coach. Back at home, it is important to “find a group of people, who are going to push you and make you better, even when it may not seem like the easiest or most fun thing to do,” as Campbell advises. On a personal front, Moncho admits that “your biggest enemy is yourself,” and “believing in yourself and working with what you have is your best shot at actually achieving what it is [that you want].”
How did you balance school work with pursuing your passions? Did you have to prioritize one over the other?
“Balancing a good GPA at a school like Casady is a lot harder than balancing a good GPA at, say, a […] public school,” confessed Moncho. She revealed that her habit of “tunnel vision” allowed her to avoid temptations that could lead her astray. Jack Barrett (‘19), who will attend Southwestern University and play DIII lacrosse, found his balance by knowing “what is and is not important.” Campbell prioritized his studies similarly, claiming, “your academics are going to back you up,” when your time on the field or track ends. Berryman managed her studies with a calendar that contained all her exam dates, and scheduled her “workouts to see what day is the best for a hard day, and see what days [she] could stay after school” to train.
How was your recruitment experience? Would you do this all over again?
Reiger conceded that she had quite a stressful experience and felt that “you really don’t know how things are going to turn out.” However, along the way, Reiger reflected that she had the opportunity to expand her community and friendships beyond Oklahoma, even beyond the United States, and to continue controlling the “controllables,” a quote Reiger adopted from her field hockey coach, Carla Lane.
Are you already planning for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next four years?
For many of our athletes, their athletic affairs only serve as “stepping [stones]” to their future success, as Barrett voiced, and will develop side by side with their academic passions. Reiger will major in History and minor in Education, and Campbell hopes to obtain his MBA in five years and find employment through a firm afterwards. However, both Moncho and Berryman explicitly stated that they hope to see championships in their future. Mutually, they all expressed excitement to experience the “priceless memories” that come with collegiate athletics, as Barrett described.
Any unexpected experiences that you came across during your recruitment?
While some of our athletes recruitment experiences ran relatively smooth, others had to surpass several obstacles that confronted them. Last year, Berryman broke her arm in two places while completing her eighth rep of hurdles in practice, just two days before the North Zone meet. This setback devastated her, but now she reflects that without “the option to reach” her goals then, she has pushed herself harder than ever this year for the coming track season. She expressed, “I am really glad that I am where I am right now.” Moncho also experienced some setbacks at the start of her recruitment process. “A lot of your athletes are going to come from big states,” she informed, and noted that living in Oklahoma could have threatened her future. However, she used this attribute as an advantage by taking that “extra step in making a name for [herself],” and showing her commitment and drive to play soccer, as a result. She even admitted that “Coaches are going to be looking for diversity for their teams, which is one of the reasons [she] got picked over another girl for Dartmouth.”
As one can see, each athlete’s recruitment path reflects the individual, their passion, determination, and hard work, which does not always look the same. With this insight, our supportive Casady community, and steadfast ambitions, we wish our younger athletes success in their future stages of recruitment.