By MacKenzie Phillips
Student athletes choose to perform at the college level because of their love for the sport and the benefits they reap from being part of a team. Camaraderie and competition are among the driving factors that propel athletes to continue gameplay at the college level. Senior baseball player Dave Robbins, soccer player Mary Solimine and swimmer Connor Jaegar are among many of those who aspire to play in college. These individuals are a step ahead of the process though: they have already committed to where they will carry on their athletic lifestyle. In an interview, I asked why each of these athletes chose the school they did and what they anticipate at this level of play…
What made you choose this school over others?
Dave: I chose Tufts University because they have a strong program of the subject I want to major in, and they have a nice baseball field.
Mary: As soon as I stepped foot on GW’s campus I loved it. I have been looking for a school that is a great fit for me, and I have found one. I didn’t really want a school that had an enclosed campus. I wanted to be in a city and around different people every day.
Connor: I had three major schools in mind when looking at places to swim: University of Florida, University of Virginia, and University of Michigan. The first school I looked at was UF. UVA was the next school I looked at, and I really liked the bond that the individuals had with each other. However, when I went to Michigan I knew it was the school for me. Everyone acted as though they were best friends, and this to me was a leading factor in my final decision.
What are the major differences that you expect between high school/college level play?
Dave: There will obviously be better competition at Tufts than at RFH. I also expect there to be a lot more dedication during the offseason.
Mary: High school and college soccer are completely different. The game will be much more physical and faster in college. People also have more expectations of you, and you are playing and traveling more often.
Connor: I am going to have much more long and intense practices, about nine to eleven each week. There will also be more emphasis directed to lifting, and there will be specialized individuals for everything. Also, there will be a team dietitian to oversee what I eat.
What does your coach expect of you?
Dave: My coach expects me to start as a sophomore and play as a freshman.
Mary: My coach expects the freshmen to come in prepared for preseason and to work our butts off. She expects us to give 100 percent and make an impact on the team.
Connor: My coach expects me to be able to swim on various levels. I am sort of diverse because I regularly swim the 50, 100, 200, and 500 free, the 100 fly, 100 breast, and 400 IM.
Do you know what your schedule will be like?
Dave: I will have sixteen practices in the fall. I will also have to lift during this time. In the winter, I will lift and run. In the spring, I will play 40 games and have numerous practices.
Mary: The schedule for the season is you play 6 days a week. Monday is your only day off. We will have games on both Fridays and Sundays or each weekend, and practices are held around 6 am every morning.
Connor: I will have 9 to 11 practices each week. I will also have to lift and weight train in order to stay fit.
What are your personal goals?
Dave: My goal is to be All-Conference eventually. Tufts is in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Mary: I just want to have fun, make friends and be able to get a good amount of playing time my freshman year or even start.
Connor: My goal is to be on par with the other athletes. There are many impressive swimmers on the team. The fastest current high school swimmer in the nation will be enrolling with me in September.
How will you compare to the other athletes?
Dave: I think don’t think I will be overwhelmed by the competition, but I do think that I have to develop more physically.
Mary: I will work just as hard and train just as much as other athletes. In the end, it just comes down to who wants it more.
Connor: I think I will be somewhat up to speed with other athletes. The team is very diverse. Swimmers from all over are part of it. There is even a kid from Japan and South Africa on the team.
We wish these athletes the best of luck next year and success!