High School Prospects achieve dream, continue playing days in college

by Brad Shulkin (Sports Editor of Statesman Newspaper)

According to the NCAA, just over three percent of high school athletes around the country make it to the collegiate level. Nonetheless, Stevenson students continue to dream big. With the chance to play in front of millions of people around the nation and compete against some of the top players in the world, high school prospects are anxious to turn their dreams into a reality.

For Varsity baseball shortstop Adam Walton ’12, the chance to play baseball in college has always been his dream. All his hard work and dedication to the sport paid off when he received an offer from the University of Illinois.

“My entire life, I have wanted to play baseball in college,” Walton said. “My dream turned into a reality during the summer of my Sophomore year when I had a really good season.”

With offers from Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan State, Walton knew that his hometown school would be the best fit for his future. Walton said that it was the relationship he had with the coaches, as well as what the school had to offer, that swayed him into choosing the University of Illinois.

Similar to Walton, Varsity left tackle Jake Hurcombe ’12 has made his decision to attend Eastern Michigan University to play football—turning his dream into a reality. Ever since he got called up to the Varsity squad his sophomore year, Hurcombe has known he would have a chance to play in college. Since then, he has gone through the long and stressful process of trying to get his talents noticed by scouts.

Both Walton and Hurcombe set goals to play at the collegiate level and were motivated to succeed. The sacrifices they would have to make would ultimately benefit them in their future, Walton said.

“The process is extremely overwhelming,” Hurcombe said. “It takes over your entire life.”

Starting Sophomore year, individual athletes must accumulate a handful of schools they wish to reach out to. The objective is to get the program excited about the skill set the person has to offer. When a college is interested in a particular player, they can come to games or practices to get a better look. This process continues back and forth until an offer is accepted or declined.

“It works both ways,” Trish Betthauser, Head Athletic Director, said. “Parents and athletes need to be advocates in the process.”

For any prospect, the ability to play college athletics doesn’t just take pure physical and mental skill. For Walton and Hurcombe, long hours practicing and going to the gym on a daily basis set them apart from other athletes.

“I went to the batting cages almost everyday over the summer,” Walton said. “If you do nothing, nothing will happen.”

Although the excitement of playing in college is now on their minds, school still remains a priority. Both Walton and Hurcombe hope to pursue degrees in business, but say if the opportunity comes their way to continue their athletic career after college, they’ll certainly take it.

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