NCAA Bound


by Clare Tourtelotte, Sports Reporter
photo illustration by Emily Zhang

Every athlete has their own story and their own words of advice. Click below to read them.

Their Stories

Anika Fiore

Anika Fiore used to play soccer in the fall but eventually stopped to prioritize running. In her junior and senior year, she ran during all three seasons.

“I started freshman year. I actually hated running before, so it’s surprising that I actually started,” Fiore said. “Junior year, I decided to do cross country and I quit soccer. Ever since then, I’ve been running distance [events].” 

Fiore committed to Trinity College to run cross country and track. She said the college commitment process consisted of reaching out to colleges and making a good first impression.

 “It’s really important to introduce yourself to the coach and give your name,” she said. “And of course your times, too.”

Fiore is unsure of what the fall season will look like, but she is continuing to stay in contact with her team. 

“I had a Zoom meeting with my team a couple of days ago,” she said. “The coach is saying it will definitely be really different than it has [been] in the past. It’s not going to be normal but hopefully we will get to have a season.”

Alex Klapes

Alex Klapes, South’s first baseman, will be playing baseball at Bentley University next spring and has worked hard to showcase his skills and reach out to coaches.

“Playing any sport in college is extremely hard and I’m really grateful in my case, it’s more of a recruited walk-on,” he said. “I still have to showcase my skills, and reaching out to the coaches and going to showcases is really a lot of time and effort to put in. It’s really important to just stick with it, and that’s what I’ve done for four years.”

On Klapes’s college tours, he met coaches and toured schools with coaches. 

“They talk to you about what your role on the team would be and make you feel like this would be a good place for you,” he said. “If it is, then hopefully it will work out. In this case, Bentley works out.”

The rules for college baseball differ slightly from those in high school. The college rules involve nine innings compared to the seven in high school. In addition, college games are much faster paced, but otherwise the field and game are the same, Klapes said. 

“We’re going to be facing pitchers throwing mostly in the 80s, maybe you’ll touch 90 [miles per hour],” he said. “Adjusting to that is going to be a little difficult, but with work and time, it should be fun.”

Cassie Lee

Center-midfielder Cassie Lee played for South’s varsity soccer team all four years of high school, in addition to playing for her club team, the Scorpions. She said she always knew she wanted to play soccer in college and began searching for the right match during her freshman year.

“I had a list of schools and I would email them, and they would watch me play in showcases,” Lee said. “I would go to showcases a few times a year and obviously club games every weekend.”

Lee said she anticipates that playing college soccer for Trinity College will feel like a combination of club and high school soccer.

“In high school, high school soccer and club soccer are two very different styles,” Lee said. “High school soccer is a lot more physical and requires more athleticism. In club, it is a lot more technical. I guess it will be a combination of those. Really technical but also a super physical game.”

Kyle Lo

Kyle Lo has been swimming for Newton South all while swimming for his club team, Crimson Aquatics, throughout high school. His main events are the 100 and 200 backstroke and the 200 individual medley. Lo is now looking towards his next step: swimming at Loyola University this upcoming school year. 

After considering and attending recruiting trips to other schools, Lo picked Loyola.

 “I met with the coach, I talked to the team, and everyone seemed really chill there,” he said. “So I chose Loyola.”

Lo said that he is looking forward to swimming for just one team, as throughout high school he swam for two: club and school.  

“Each team had its own philosophies, own coaches, own teammates I could race with,” he said. “In college, having just one single team [and] not having to switch around will really benefit me.”

Lo said he is looking forward to joining the new team and meeting new people.

Beth O’Neill

Midfielder Beth O’Neill, who will be playing lacrosse at Wellesley College next year, entered the recruiting game late. 

“I knew that I wanted to keep playing a sport in college,” she said. “At all the colleges I was looking at, I was just planning on playing club lacrosse.”

She focused more on applying to schools for academic reasons but decided to email coaches at schools she was interested in. Coaches then attended lacrosse tournaments that she played in last summer. 

“The Wellesley coach said she’d be more than happy to have me on her team,” O’Neill said. “I applied early decision and that was about it.”

She said that college lacrosse will definitely take up more time than high school and that she has started summer workouts in preparation for the lacrosse season.

She said that juggling club gymnastics and both club and school lacrosse throughout high school was challenging. 

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “[Lacrosse] is going to be my only sport now.”

Alisha Stadnicki

Alisha Stadnicki has been running since 6th grade, when she joined the cross country team after her friends started running in middle school.

“I started growing and really enjoying it and then I started trying and going on runs on weekends. Just because I enjoyed it,” Stadnicki said. 

Throughout South she primarily ran the one and two mile races and pole-vaulted during track seasons. 

Now, Stadnicki is preparing to attend Sacred Heart University after visiting the school and falling in love with both the academic programs and the running team.

“I stayed overnight at the university …  with a host who was going into the same undergraduate [program] as me, which was exercise science,” Stadnicki said. “She showed me around all of campus. I attended a running practice, which was really nice, and I also got to eat with the team.”

Stadnicki plans on getting her doctorate degree in physical therapy through the school’s 3+3 physical therapy program. She’s looking forward to starting summer workouts in the coming weeks. 

“On June 22, I believe I’m going to get my summer workout plan,” she said. “I don’t even know what that’s going to be, but I assume it’s going to be hard.”

Their Words

We asked other college committed athletes: “What would you tell your younger self?”

Tre Andrews (Nichols College Football): “Stay focused, work hard and chase the bag.”

Danny Collins (Duke University TF): “Continue to keep putting in the work, especially when you are too tired or you do not want to, but you do it anyway because that is where it counts, and that will separate you from everyone else.”

Ben Giesser (Colby College XC/TF): “Trust yourself and your training.”

Ethan Jacunski (Trinity College XC/TF): “Stop worrying and constantly thinking about the future. In both running and school, I was always worrying about what is to come over the next few years, but I would say to focus more on the present. Focus on your training and school as it comes instead of worrying about the future. Just take everything a step at a time.”

Lucy Jenks (Stanford University XC/TF): “Really focus on enjoying the process and appreciate where you are in the moment. It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the future or what’s next, but ultimately being content in the now is what really matters!”

Addie Marple (Boston University XC/TF): “Don’t get too caught up in the future. Focus on doing the day-to-day training and be happy with yourself. Bad races happen, and that’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up. Stay relaxed.”

Claire Olson (Occidental College Lacrosse): “Follow your heart. People will tell you what they think you should do and will try and make you fit into what they think you should be, but n’t listen to it. The only person you need to care about is yourself. Follow your dreams, not someone else’s, and the most important step in that journey is finding the right people who will support you and your goals.”

Marcos Phillip Pessanha (Assumption College Soccer): “Never take what you have for granted because you never know what might happen. Most importantly, grind, grind, grind, and never be complacent.”

Sebastian Pike (Union College Baseball): “Don’t worry about results and just focus on what you can control and the process you take to get there.”

Lila Sherman (Springfield College Gymnastics): “Believe in yourself, and go for it. The more you believe you can, the closer you are to achieving your goals and overcoming that fear.”

Audrey Shuler (Occidental College XC/TF): “You can’t give up even when you aren’t getting the results you want, and you have to give it your all at every workout.”

Olga Zhizhin (Simmons University Tennis): “Don’t worry too much about the future. In terms of friends, don’t compare yourself to other people because that’s only going to make you feel bad later.”