Most kids grow up fixated on the TV watching their heroes play for their favorite college team. A select few kids get to become those heroes and have others look up to them instead. But, playing sports in college starts with the recruitment process.
“I started running in sixth grade,” said senior track and cross country runner Reece Proctor. “My mom kind of made me do it.”
“I’ve emailed a couple coaches of schools I’m thinking about attending and running for and we’ve had some conversations here and there,” Proctor said.
Running and school are his life, Proctor said, so going to run in college is sort of essential for him, no matter where he ends up.
“I love competing,” Proctor said. “I just run so I can race and college is the next level to compete at a higher level and that’s my largest goal with running.”
Like Proctor, senior soccer player Will Richmond has been playing his sport for a long time and plans to play in college.
“[I started playing soccer] when I was 6 or 7,” Richmond said. “All the little kids played together; their moms set it up.”
He is committed to attend Stanford to play soccer, as long as he gets into the school, Richmond said.
“[Stanford] made it pretty clear, unlike a lot of other schools, they’re pretty tough on who they let in,” Richmond said. “So I was kind of on the fence if I should try and get in and decided just to give it a shot, so I had to take way more classes this year.”
Richmond has to take 1 Honors class and 1 AP class in school, along with 2 AP classes online this year in order to meet the caliber at Stanford, he said.
“I’m committed to them and they’re committed to me to try to get me in,” Richmond said. “There’s no certainty. If I drop my grades, I won’t get in.”
Senior Kylie Hilton said she is looking into the option of playing gymnastics in college, but is not set on the idea yet.
“I’m applying to way more schools without [gymnastics] because I definitely know that’s way more important,” Hilton said.
Like all other NCAA sports, coaches can not email players until their junior year, Hilton said.
“For a year or so, you’re just sending emails and you have no idea if [the college] got them,” Hilton said.
Even though Hilton experienced the contact complications, senior football player Cole Kingston started his recruitment process mid way through his junior year, avoiding those confusing interactions, he said.
“I really like the sport and it does also help me get into a better college,” Kingston said. “So you can have the best of both worlds.”
He began by emailing coaches of potential schools his highlight tape from his junior season and waiting to see if they responded or not, Kingston said.
“In the summer I went to various recruiting camps where I met them in person and played in front of them,” Kingston said.
Like Hilton, he is applying to schools based on their academics, Kingston said.
“Almost all of [the colleges] are engineering focused and STEM focused so I apply first and foremost for the academic part of it, and they also all have good D3 programs and good coaches,” Kingston said.
But, despite the reward in the end, the process of recruitment can sometimes be daunting, especially when dealing with the coaches, Kingston said.
“The hardships are when you are interested in certain schools and a lot of times they won’t respond or you’re waiting for a response,” Kingston said.
Proctor said he agreed with Kingston in thinking it was somewhat awkward to talk to coaches.
“Putting yourself out there to all these coaches, you kind of feel like you’re just advertising yourself more than you normally want to,” Proctor said. “You have to talk about all your achievements and that gets a little uncomfortable sometimes.”