The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Rocket athletes commit to top collegiate programs

Junior Mckinley Heaven runs towards the ball to score a goal. (Photo permission granted by Patrick Agustin)

Committing to play a sport in college is a dream only very few can achieve. 

Athletes start the recruiting process either June 15 following their sophomore year or Sept. 1 of their junior year. This process can be extremely stressful for athletes hoping to fulfill their dreams and goals of playing the sport they love at the next level. RM’s sports teams are lucky to have plenty of great athletes, many of which plan on continuing their career at Division 1 schools. 

Athletes commit to universities for plenty of reasons, whether it’s close to home, good coaching and facilities, or even academics. Junior McKinley Heaven recently committed to the University of Maryland, a Division 1 school, to play girls soccer.

 “I think Maryland is the perfect fit for me,” Heaven said. “The campus is close to home where my family can come to all my games, but still gives me the freedom and independence that comes with college. The coaches are absolutely amazing, the school and team are diverse and so many more factors that as soon as I left my visit it felt like home.“

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Senior Elliot Lee is committed to Yale University for men’s swimming. “I committed really early, in like early October. I was the first Ivy league commit for my class,” Lee said. “I only went on one official visit to Yale. The team aspect with the campus and athletic profile attracted me.”

Recruiting starts near the end of the athletes sophomore year or beginning of junior year and ends in August. “The recruiting process started in early June of my sophomore year…with a bunch of emails from different schools reaching out,” Lee said. “I then picked out a couple to talk to and thanked the others for reaching out, kept talking and started going on visits near August and September of junior year.”

Handling the recruiting process isn’t always the easiest of tasks, especially for young student athletes. Managing a life changing decision is not a simple task for anyone, let alone a student athlete managing school, sports, friends and family. 

“The recruiting process for me was definitely a very exciting time and new chapter in my life, but also overwhelming and stressful at times,” Heaven said. “Throughout the process there was always something on my mind, while juggling it with my life. It did also help me navigate and learn to manage something big like this that would lead to one of the biggest decisions I would have to make as a teenager.”

Being able to play a sport in college is an honor like no other, and isn’t just handed out to everyone. Hardwork is one the most important skills required. Many D-1 athletes have played their respective sports since they were children and have worked hard everyday and night to achieve their goals and dreams. 

“Playing up a year for the majority of my life definitely exposed me and helped me realize that if I work super hard, playing at this high level is possible,” Heaven said. “My sister and teammates navigated the recruiting process before me so I was able to see what it was like and use them as my role models.”

While it’s not the goal of all, many chase the dream to play in college, but often don’t know where to start. Navigating such an important life-changing decision isn’t easy, and many don’t truly understand until they are in it themselves. 

“My advice for younger kids trying to commit to a program is definitely trust the process,” Heaven said. “Also, make a list and keep in mind what is important to you and what you want in a university, keep going back to that and make sure you have the perfect fit for yourself, because someone else’s perfect fit isn’t the same as yours.” 

There are many other student athletes at RM that are committed to play collegiate sports in the next two years. Senior Livia Venditti is committed to Brown University for swimming, senior Grace Finnegan is committed to Syracuse for cross country and track and field, senior Mason Roth is committed to Norwich University for baseball and senior Daniel Tofig is committed to Shenandoah University for lacrosse.  

“Even if it isn’t Division 1, any college commit is amazing in itself, and being noticed by them means you’ve already accomplished something great and that you have the potential to do great things,” Lee said. “Keep working hard even through adversity and be yourself, and you’ll shine in any place you want to go. Just follow your heart and your gut.”

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