College-bound athletes commit to schools, look forward to playing at new levels of competition

By: Rebecca Alger, Mitch Donat, Misheel Enkbhat, Yan Jia, Yilin Liang, Wonhee Park, Annie Tran, Catalina Zhao, Lydia Zhang

Allison Doerpinghaus (Eastern Washington University)

Senior Allison Doerpinghaus committed to Eastern Washington University (EWU) for volleyball last April, after turning down offers from University of Portland and South Dakota University. “Of course getting a good education was number one on my list, but my other ‘number one’ was school spirit, which they seem to have a lot of,” Doerpinghaus said. “All of the sport teams really support the others sports as well.” She verbally committed to EWU, but her spot on the team was finalized on Nov. 9, National Letter of Intent Day.

Although she started playing volleyball because people said her above-average height would be advantageous, Doerpinghaus became more passionate when she found that volleyball stresses both the individual and the team.  “The camaraderie and the bond you form with your teammates is unlike anything else,” she said.

After college, Doerphingaus plans to coach volleyball to inspire other athletes to achieve their volleyball goals after college. “I’ve had a few coaches in the past that have really gotten me excited about the possibility of coaching, and now I know that it’s something I most definitely want to do,” Doerpinghaus said.

Despite the challenges ahead, Doerpinghaus knows that she will be sucessful. “I realize that I have a lot of work to do to play competitively at the next level, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and believe I can definitely help my team both on and off the court prepare to succeed,” she said.

Laura Hayward (Claremont McKenna College)

Senior Laura Hayward has committed to Claremont McKenna College for soccer. She chose this school because of its academics, location and strong soccer team.

Having played soccer competitively since kindergarten and participated in a California Youth Soccer Association team since fourth grade, Hayward loves the aggressiveness and physical talent soccer requires and is looking forward to utilizing these components after high school. “I also love the fact that [soccer] is a team sport and that it’s a team’s chemistry that makes a winning team,” Hayward wrote in an email. “Some of my longest friendships have come from my soccer teams.”

Going into college, Hayward hopes to contribute to the defense of her future team. “I most likely will start as an outside back, but hopefully by senior year I will become a middle defender,” Hayward wrote. “As a middle defender, I hope to become a leader on the team.” She also looks forward to meeting new people and getting to know a different place. “Hopefully, I will continue to love school even more through college,” Hayward wrote.

Although she is uncertain of plans for after college, Hayward hopes that going to college will help her decide her future. “I most likely will find a career that involves children and most likely I will go to graduate school,” Hayward wrote. “I do not plan on becoming a professional player, but it would be fun to play in intramural leagues after college.”

Cat Perez (Seattle University)

Perhaps one of the most important questions for every serious athlete is to ask herself whether or not she sees herself playing the sport in the future. For senior Cat Perez, the answer was an easy yes, so for the upcoming year, Perez has committed to playing basketball for Seattle University.

This decision was made after extensive travel and communication with coaches from different schools. “If I got a call from a coach, we would talk anywhere from five minutes to an hour just about me and my life,” Perez said. “ If the relationship kept building, they could have me either talk to their head coach, or they would invite me for an official visit. You are only allowed to take five official visits.” In the end, Perez narrowed down her choices to University of New Mexico and Seattle University.

Although the process of committing to a college can be tiresome for both the athlete and her family, “my parents and friends are very supportive,” Perez said. “I think that everyone is glad that the whole process is done. I missed a lot of time hanging out with my friends during the first few months of school because I would be gone weekend after weekend. And when I got back, I would be overloaded with stress from all the homework piling up.”

However, in the end, Perez is glad that she accomplished her goals. “It was stressful at times, but I am glad to say that I went through it,” she said. “It does feel good to accomplish a goal that I have had since I was about 5 years old.”

Keenan Venuti (Harvard University)

You may know him specifically as Harvard, but read between the lines and you may find his actual name, Keenan Venuti. Although Venuti is great at both football and basketball, he chose to chase his dream of playing football at Harvard University. Keenan has been playing since his sophomore year, when his coach gave him the inspiration to play after high school. “My coach told me I had the potential to play Division I football,” Venuti said, “and that if I worked hard, I would be in a good position.”

Since he began playing, Venuti has developed an intense passion for the game. “I love the competitive nature and physicality of the sport,” Venuti said. “I have also found football to be an emotional and physical release from anxiety and anger.”

When Venuti began the recruiting process, he didn’t receive letters just from Harvard’s Crimson Tide. “My first offer was to the Air Force as their defensive end,” Venuti said. “I went to five football camps last summer, and after Harvard’s camp, I received an offer from them.” After making the tough choice of attending Harvard, Venuti committed to playing his hardest this upcoming fall. “When attending Harvard I will try my hardest to make the varsity team,” Venuti said. After college, Venuti will keep playing in whatever way he can. “It would be a dream to play football in the National Football League, and I will try my hardest to attain that dream,” Venuti said.

Jake Verlh

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