Recruiting Athletes During Covid-19

WSHS+girl%27s+soccer+players+are+continuing+their+season+with+the+use+of+face+masks

David Hosmer

WSHS girl’s soccer players are continuing their season with the use of face masks

Alleyna Pitaso, Sports Editor

In a time when the futures of millions of people are up in the air, high school athletes are desperately trying to hold onto the hope that their sports seasons might go on. Unfortunately for many seniors, they may not get the chance to play their last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was their final chance to do the sport they love, but for some, one last question remains: how will they be able to secure a spot on a college’s sports team?

This is a question that West Side senior lacrosse player Maggie Grout was unsure of the answer to as she began her college search this past spring. “I was really nervous about sports being cancelled,” she said. She, like so many others, worried about her chances of continuing her athletic career. Most fall sports this season are back with Covid-19 precautions in place, but for Maggie, last spring was her last chance to have college coaches come watch her play lacrosse, and that was taken from her.

 For Springfield College Women’s Soccer Recruiting Director Jill Serafino, she believes that though Covid-19 has caused some sports seasons to be postponed or cancelled, “it doesn’t directly affect a prospective student-athlete’s ability to apply and be admitted into a college.”

However, Serafino does acknowledge that there are steps that a student can take to make the process run smoothly. “If a prospective athlete has updated film to share with coaches, then that would be the best way to be seen (at least as a starting point),” she explained.

Serafino wants to make it clear that the recruiting process is very different this year. Whereas in previous years, coaches would be able to attend a prospective student’s game and observe them, this year college coaches have had to rely on watching film and attending college ID showcases (where players register to play with other random players to be seen by coaches).

For senior football player Aidan Landers, his last year playing in high school has been postponed, and his hopes of being on that field one more time are hanging on by a thread. Though practices are still going on, they are much different than in previous years. “Practices now are much shorter. We used to have practice from 2:15-5. Now we go from 3-4:30,” Aidan explained. On top of this, they now only have practices twice a week, instead of their usual five. If the football season were to return, these changes would make the transition a little difficult. Players are currently not allowed to make contact with each other while practicing, and they are currently unable to wear their protective pads and gear. Although Aidan himself does not plan on playing in college, he has teammates that do, and they are looking at the current state of football very nervously. There is no word so far  on what will happen with their season, so for now, they wait.

Prospective student-athletes are facing challenges that nobody could have seen coming. Yet, they have shown that they have the tenacity, strength, and a will to succeed despite the odds; these are the defining characteristics that every athlete has in some capacity. Whether they are able to play their last season or not, those traits are something Covid-19 can never take away from them.

As for Maggie Grout, she announced that she will continue her athletic career at Framingham State University on the Women’s Lacrosse team, and has learned a lot from her experience during her college recruitment process. “Student athletes that are working hard and want to play in college should try and not put so much pressure on yourself because everything will work out and you will end up in the right place.”