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Athletes committed for college sports By Lucie James

(Courtesy of Creative commons)

A look into athletes who are committed for their sports.

Girls’ Water Polo – Caitlin Donnelly, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

Senior Caitlin Donnelly originally started the college process focused on academics rather than playing water polo, but after four years on the Redwood team, Donnelly didn’t want to stop participating in a sport which had grown to be a tremendous part of her life. This year, Donnelly was admitted to St. Andrews in Scotland, and is going to be playing on their water polo team.

“When I finally made the decision I was really excited; the whole day I couldn’t stop smiling. It wasn’t even just about playing water polo, that was definitely part of it, but it was that I had picked a school that I was really happy to go to, and it was the whole package,” Donnelly said.

Boys’ Basketball - Omar Elliot-Diab, Denison University Ohio

Initially senior Omar Elliot-Diab was unsure about commiting to a college for basketball. But, this past summer colleges began reaching out and he ultimately committed to Denison University.

“Stepping into such a new environment makes me feel a little bit nervous, but I am excited to get better, contribute to the team and form relationships and friendships with the other players and coaches,” Elliot-Diab said.

Girls’ Basketball - Zoe Stachowski, Irvine Valley College

When senior Zoe Stachowski was first offered a spot on a college team for basketball, she was told by her coaches and friends to take it. Instead, Stachowski decided to wait and see what other schools were interested. After receiving other offers, Stachowski committed to Irvine Valley College to continue basketball.

While Stachowski is looking forward to playing in college, she is going to miss her teammates and familiar environment at Redwood.

“Playing with my [teammates] has made me love the game, and I just know anywhere I go it's just going to be fun, and I really love basketball. I couldn’t really see myself not playing in college,” Stachowski said.

Girls’ Soccer - Stella Campodonico, Ithaca College

From kicking the ball around at age seven to playing varsity soccer for four years, senior Stella Campodonico, although passionate about her sport, never planned to continue soccer at a collegiate level until she visited Ithaca College in New York.

“I actually didn’t want to get recruited or anything, but I went and visited Ithaca College and I loved the school. My club coach told me that I should look into playing there. I emailed the coach, and the Ithaca coach wanted to see me play,” Campodonico said.

According to Campodonico, she was offered a spot on the team and will be attending this fall.

“I am excited to meet all the new girls and be a part of a team and represent the school, because high school soccer is so much fun, and it’s just that on steroids,” Campodonico said.

Boys’ Soccer - Aaron Schten, University of California, Davis

Senior Aaron Schten had been communicating with college coaches since sophomore year, and this year committed to University of California, Davis. Schten is looking forward to meeting a new team and progressing as a soccer player at a Division I level.

According to Schten, he and his new teammates begin practice this summer.

“I am nervous about making an impression and playing well, because everyone is way better than who I have played with before. I’m also nervous about balancing a Division I sport and academics at the same time,” Schten said.

Rowing - Amelia Shunk, Duke University

Senior Amelia Shunk started her rowing career as a sophomore, and due to her late start, was not expecting to row in college. However, in her junior year, Shunk realized that continuing in college would be a possibility and before she knew it, schools were reaching out to her. During the fall of her senior year, she committed to Duke University.

“Duke is not a team that is historically strong, but it is a team that is building, which is why they are taking a lot of recruits. Trying to beat teams that they haven’t beaten before, and being a part of a team where I can really make an impact, is exciting to me. Whereas other schools, because the rowing teams are so big, you are just one of the numbers, but I think at Duke, each and every person makes a difference,” Shunk said.

Shunk is looking to major in pre-med, and is prepared to attend the school this fall.

Swimming: Trinity Dohoney, Hendrix College

Senior Trinity Dohoney is ready to say goodbye to California and extend her realm of comfort by attending college in Arkansas, where she will be swimming Division III at Hendrix College.

“I was really happy, I could have gone to a better swimming school, but I just think that it’s more fun if I go to the school I want to over something that is not going to be as fun,” Dohoney said.

Dohoney has been swimming for 12 years, and while leaving Marin will be a change, she is looking forward to continuing her sport and connecting with a new team.

“A lot of the club swimmers are on my swim team, and we are super close, and I think I made my college decision based off that too because the school I’m going to seems just as close as we are,” Dohoney said.

Track - Jacqueline Massey-Blake, California State University, Chico

As a freshman, senior Jacqueline Massey-Blake played tennis and ran track, but it was not until her junior year that she made the decision to quit tennis and dedicate her time to running. While at first Massey-Blake didn’t plan to run in college, after visiting Chico State and meeting the track coach, she reconsidered.

“For the majority of junior year, I didn’t think I would be able to run in college, just because I thought that some of my times would not be good enough for the schools I wanted to run at. But now that I am going to Chico, which is Division II, I know I can improve on my times, especially with the coach that I have. He told me that if I work hard, especially the first year, the majority of my times will improve,” Massey-Blake said.

Softball - Catherine Jensen, University of Dayton, Ohio

For the past 10 years, senior Catherine Jensen has been playing softball, this being her fourth year on varsity. Jensen was always sure she was going to play in college, but it wasn’t until visiting her future school did she know where she wanted to play. According to Jensen, the decision process was difficult, but after visiting University of Dayton, she committed.

“I am really excited to get out of my comfort zone, leave California, and experience something new, also to play softball and be at a really great school. I am going to miss a lot of the friendships that I have created, because I have been here for four years,” Jensen said.

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