Committing During COVID

UPrep students face challenges in the collegiate recruiting process


Photo: Rebecca Moe

Senior Axel Andrews and junior Harry Rothman in the outfield during a varsity baseball game before COVID-19 ended all sports.

University Prep’s long tradition of breaking records and winning state has assisted student athletes to continue their athletic career at a collegiate level. This year, UPrep has more student athletes than ever, but that is not the main reason for this unprecedented college recruiting year. COVID-19 is disrupting all aspects of life in many ways, and the commitment process may be one of the most disrupted of all. 

Senior Ezra Kucur recently committed to play division three soccer at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where she will be playing on the women’s soccer team.

“[The pandemic] definitely impacted my ability to have coaches see me play,” Kucur said. 

UPrep’s student-athletes are having to find their way through the college commitment process during this extraordinary time. Current juniors and seniors are in the college commitment process, and like last year’s seniors, COVID-19 is largely impacting this process.

Junior Harry Rothman is also currently in the recruitment process.

“I have been playing baseball for longer than I can remember,” Rothman said. 

To achieve his goal of continuing to play baseball in college, Rothman has been spending hours of his time in the weight room and on the field. However, Rothman’s college commitment process will be very different compared to past Pumas. 

“There’s a recruiting dead period right now, which means coaches can’t come to games and players can’t go to colleges until sometime in April,” Rothman said.

According to Rothman, this makes the process harder for students to find the right fit and for coaches to find the right athlete. However, many athletes are currently doing what they can while living through these unforeseen circumstances. 

Kucur shared her advice for future student athletes applying to college.

“Coaches aren’t going to come looking for you, you have to seek them out. Don’t be afraid to email a dozen coaches. You never know what is going to happen,” Kucur said. 

With the recruiting process harder for all parties involved, it is vital that student athletes go the extra mile to get in contact with coaches and hone their skills on and off the field.

Director of College Counseling and Student Services Kelly Herrington is very involved in the college dreams of many students, including student athletes. Herrington has advice for student-athletes aspiring to play college sports

“Control what you can control, meaning your grades, taking a strong curriculum, improving athletically and good sportsmanship,” Herrington said. 

UPrep alum Jackson Ragen, was recently selected by the Major League Soccer Team, the Chicago Fire, as the 33 overall pick in the MLS draft. He graduated from UPrep in 2017 and then attended the University of Michigan. Ragen played soccer for UPrep, and his favorite memory from playing here was going to the state championship his freshman year. 

“Dux and Mr. Whitney were great coaches for me and we had a great team with a lot of great guys,” Ragen said. 

He hopes to see many more student athletes from UPrep reach their goals. 

“My advice for high school students who want to play sports in college would just be to continue working hard and having fun because that is how you will improve the most,” Ragen said.