Ella Cook ’21, Carey Koenig ’21, and Ayana Lindsey ’21 smiling after signing letters of intent for their respective colleges. (Karla Koening)
Ella Cook ’21, Carey Koenig ’21, and Ayana Lindsey ’21 smiling after signing letters of intent for their respective colleges.

Karla Koening

Athletes Going Through College Recruitment During COVID-19

Getting recruited for college sports can be stressful for some athletes and the addition of a global pandemic makes it even harder

December 17, 2020

Mia+Deprenger+%2722+posing+for+a+photo+with+a+Minnesota+State+University+soccer+coach.

Leslie Deprenger

Mia Deprenger ’22 posing for a photo with a Minnesota State University soccer coach.

Mia Deprenger

While COVID-19 has made the college recruitment process more difficult for some athletes, Mia Deprenger ‘21 is not one of them. Deprenger has been committed to Minnesota State University to play NCAA division II soccer since her freshman year of high school.

“My sister actually  goes there to play soccer so I was  introduced to the team really early on, and I saw the field, the campus, met coaching staff and it just felt like the right place for me to go to,” Deprenger said.

Recently due to COVID-19, the NCAA division one council voted to move the college recruitment dead period to April of 2021. This can put stressors on student-athletes looking to get recruited as the dead period is when college coaches are not permitted to have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes and they may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. 

“It’s stressful for other people so like I’m glad that I got it out of the way,”  Depreger said.  “They can’t really go and see the campus talk the team so it’s kind of hard to make a decision without really knowing exactly what you’re getting into.”

When asked what she was most excited for  Deprenger said, “I love the team atmosphere there and it’s really fun to be around them because there’s  like 30 games per season and everyone likes everyone no matter like what age or grade they’re in.”

Evion+Richardson+%2722+winding+up+to+shoot+in+a+game+against+Dubuque+Hempstead.

Madelyn Hellwig

Evion Richardson ’22 winding up to shoot in a game against Dubuque Hempstead.

Evion Richardson

Evion Richardson ‘22 was offered to play at the University of Nebraska Omaha during COVID-19 by a college recruitment scout who watched several virtual games from past years. He then contacted one of her AAU coaches for her information and began reaching out. 

“It’s really hard for a coach to sit there and watch on the screen without actually being there because the environment is totally different and when I was talking to the college coaches he said it  was kind of boring, just sitting there watching like 10 games online.”

When asked why she wants to play there Richarson said, “I just like the environment because everybody gets treated like a family,” Richardson said. “Before I even committed they already treated me like I was a family so I just like that type of bond and know that it’s a good place.”

Richardson has played varsity basketball for City High since her freshman year and has never been one to question if she wants it or not.

“I’ve always known since I was little that I love this sport and have always wanted to play and now I love the sport so much that I don’t want to stop playing it,” Richardson said.  

Growing up Richardson felt inspired by many different people including WNBA players Skylar Diggins and Tia Cooper as well as many of her high school teammates and competition. She hopes to someday play at the elite level. 

“[My family] is very happy, all their sacrifices to stuff they’ve done for me has paid off and they want to see me do great in college and probably hope to get to elite,” Richardson said. 

Richardson plans to reach her goals by putting in lots of hours in the gym, eating right, and working hard in the classroom to get good grades. 

“I love basketball so much and I just want to succeed in it. So I really hope all my hard work can go towards me getting drafted.”

Raphael+Hamilton+%2721+preparing+to+throw+a+football+in+a+game+against+Linn-Mar.+

Natalie Green

Raphael Hamilton ’21 preparing to throw a football in a game against Linn-Mar.

Raphael Hamilton

Raphael Hamilton ‘21 Hamilton first reached out to Mary University in Bismarck, North Dakota to play NCAA Division II Football his sophomore year. Hesent his film his junior year where he then began contact with the coaches. “It felt like a really good fit and the coaching staff really felt like they really cared about me,” Hamilton  said.

He committed to Mary University in August of 2020 but just recently took his official visit to Mary University in mid-November to get a more in depth look of the University’s program and speak with academic advisors.  

 “It really reassured me and I feel like I have a really good relationship with the coaches there and that’s kind of a big thing. I feel like the coaches there really care about me not just for my playing abilities but as a person.”

This year has been a bit different for boys football. They missed around three weeks of their season limiting the amount of film available to college recruiters. Because Hamilton committed early he was able to avoid any COVID recruitment struggles however this can be a conflict for some athletes still trying to get recruited.

“I mean like in football it’s especially important to have film out there there for coaches to evaluate. Hamilton aid. “For guys at City High we were able to get at least some film out, probably not as many games as we would have wanted but I still think it’s helpful.”

Overall, Hamilton looks forward to exploring a new community, developing new friendships, being a role model for aspiring college athletes, and the community service work The University Of Mary offers.

“There’s a lot of different opportunities that come with playing football in college. I want to be a leader amongst my teammates and look forward to developing friendships that I think will last a lifetime.” Hamilton said.

Parker+Max+%2722+racing+to+qualify+for+state+at+the+divisional+meet.+

Rachel Marsh

Parker Max ’22 racing to qualify for state at the divisional meet.

Parker Max

Parker Max ’22 is an athlete looking to pursue college sports. He plans to run cross country in college but is still undecided where. This year, Max ran at the high school State Cross Country meet where the team placed eighth overall. Max’s is currently a junior and plans to become the best runner he can be in college.

“I just love running itself and so I think that cross country is a sport where anybody can run in college, so I might as well take advantage of that,” Max said.

Currently due to COVID-19, most of the colleges Max is looking into are not allowing in person college visits however, Max has begun contact with several division three coaches.

“It’s kind of stressful to think about where to go to college when you can’t really visit the college. So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do some visits over the summer when hopefully it’ll be not so bad,” Max said.

Max is inspired to run in college from his family and looks forward to the higher intensity of college running.

“Both my parents and ran in college and my brother’s running in college now.  In high school, there aren’t as many runners on the team that take it super seriously and in college the team is definitely very focused and everybody is there because they and they love to run so I just think that there would be more of a team bond, which would be really fun to be a part of.”

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