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Signing Day: Pirates Choose Their Next Mascot
April 20, 2022
Students spend countless hours at games, practices, and time on their own striving for one goal: playing in college.
Only 7% of high school athletes play a college sport. That’s 1 in 13 athletes.
The recruiting process can be stressful, as athletes reach out to various coaches, some perhaps too busy to reply, on top of trying to choose a major and the right school.
Colleges offer a range of levels to play sports, ranging from NAIA to Division III to Division I. This decision about playing sports in college goes beyond what level students can play, as athletes have to make decisions: Does the school have a good program for my major? How much time do I want to commit to sports? Do I want to commit to another four years of a sport?
Pattonville had 12 senior athletes commit and sign to colleges in 2022, representing sports from all three seasons.
For Helen Bae, the sport she grew up knowing and loving, swimming, became too much of a strain for her mental health. In eighth grade, she decided to pick up lacrosse and try something new.
After playing for her club and throughout high school, she wasn’t really sure if she wanted to commit to another four years of playing lacrosse in college.
Bae explained that practice at the beginning of the season helped her reacclimate to the sport. “I realized [in preseason] that even though it gets hard, I really do enjoy playing this game.”
Helen Bae will be joining her teammate Chloe Kerwin at Maryville University next year.
Julia Blankenship committed to playing DII soccer at McKendree University.
Through interacting with the soccer coach at McKendree, Julia was able to be confident in her decision not only in playing soccer but also in her choice of a school.
“I liked his coaching methods and the girls on the team,” Blankenship said. “Also, looking around campus, I really loved the environment there, and they also have what I want to study.”
Kate Germano has signed with Eastern Illinois University to continue playing soccer.
She started looking into Eastern Illinois, and after more research, she decided that it would be the right place for her for the next four years.
She chose to play at DI to be athletically challenged. “I knew that this division would do that,” she said.
I think that I really thrive and improve when I have teammates and opponents that push me to work as hard as I can every day.
— Kate Germano
Charles Johnson Jr.
Charles Johnson Jr. has committed to Central Methodist University to play football.
He is excited about where this next chapter of life will take him, on and off the field.
“I love the game and believe that it can groom me to be a better man,” Johnson said, “Central Methodist prioritizes being great in the classroom in addition to being great on the field.”
For him, playing football in college is not only about playing the game, because “sports provide me with world skills that will help me be successful.”
Chloe Kerwin has decided to commit to NCAA DII lacrosse at Maryville University because “they are able to stack scholarships as well as provide me with a schedule that can work with me academically.”
For some students, going D1 isn’t the right path.
“Everyone wants to go D1, but for me, that commitment was something I was not wanting to do,” Kerwin said.
Logan Lindsey has committed to Central Methodist University to play football.
Affordability of college is a large factor in many students’ choice of where to go.
Sports allow an opportunity to help students afford college. For Lindsay, he found this opportunity in NAIA.
“I decided on NAIA because they were able to offer me a scholarship whereas NCAA Division 3, which is where many of my offers came from, couldn’t offer any scholarships,” he said.
Anthony McCaa has committed to play DII football at Lane College.
Although many athletes are pressured to go DI, through the support of family, friends, and coaches, McCaa has been able to be confident in his decision.
“Going to any level is hard, and leading up to this decision, I felt butterflies and was ready to let the community know, and I’m blessed to have everybody’s support including my coaches,” he said.
Lindsey Meyer has signed with Trine University, a DIII school, to continue playing soccer.
Meyer decided that she would be done with competitive soccer after college, but still wanted to play soccer in college.
“I want to focus more of my time on school,” Meyer said.
After Meyer went up to visit Trine University, a DIII school, she decided it would be the right fit for her and her major.
“I went up to visit because why not,” she said. “It might be cliche to say this but being on the campus I had an ‘awe’ moment, I could see myself going there.”
Isaac Reddy is continuing his swimming career at Ohio Northern University, a DIII school.
Isaac didn’t mind which division he played. “I want to put my academics first, then swim.”
Regardless of what level athletes play at, college sports are an opportunity to grow and continue to get better at their sport, especially swimming.
Swimming at college level is “generally when swimmers peak in their swim career and I am excited to see how much faster I can get,” Reddy said.
I’m not ready to give it up yet. I love it too much to stop now.
— Isaac Reddy
Savannah Sowell has committed to play lacrosse at Missouri Baptist University.
For Sowell and other athletes, sports have allowed for the opportunity for students to have an outlet.
“For me, lacrosse doesn’t feel like a responsibility,” Sowell said. “I love going to practice, developing my skill, and playing in games. It makes me feel less stressed out and I just do not think I would be able to survive college without it.”
Charlotte Taylor has made the decision to play DII lacrosse at The College of Saint Rose.
A decision this big that students make at a relatively young age can be nerve-wracking.
“After I committed, I was very nervous that I had made the wrong decision,” Taylor said. “However, my coach told me that he believed in me, not only in lacrosse, but also for just moving away from family! I still get nervous, but I’m excited too!”
Keilah Wilkes has committed to run distance at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
Not only is college an opportunity for students to set their own schedules, but it is also a time to explore and find new experiences and friends.
“I’m excited to take classes and set my own schedule, as well as compete in college athletics,” Wilkes said.
I think high school sports are a solid precursor to college athletics, but getting to travel for competition and bond with a new group of girls is definitely something I’m looking forward to.
— Keilah Wilkes