Athletes from the Class of 2022 commit to where they will play next year in college
This is the time of the year that senior athletes in high school across the country decide if and where they will play a sport at the next level in college. Before the holiday break, nine St. Andrew’s seniors signed their National Letter of Intent or Commitment Form at the school's Signing Day Ceremony. Parents were able to come and celebrate this momentous occasion in their child’s athletic career. The following nine are as follows.
William Atkinson | Amherst | Squash
Allaire Berl | Kenyon | Tennis
Flynn Bowman | Sewanee | Lacrosse
Sage Cookerly | Sewanee | Lacrosse
Gavin Green | Brown | Rowing
Phin Hunt | Middlebury | Football
Elizabeth Rainey | Colgate | Swimming
Cleo Ray | Bucknell | Rowing
Sunny Trivits | Boston College | Rowing
The recruitment process is always busy and stressful for any athlete, but add in the pandemic and there are even more unknowns. The graduate class for 2022 has lost multiple seasons during some of the most important time to put film together for college coaches to view. All spring athletes missed their sophomore season when the pandemic first started. Last year during their junior years (and a critical time to appeal to college coaches) they lost their fall and winter season. Athletes were having to put together limited films from their first two years and get creative with recruitment. Even with the adversity and changes of the past two years, the commitment list of St. Andrew’s athletes have been impressive and hopefully will continue to grow through the winter and into the spring.
The nine athletes that celebrated in December reflected on their favorite moments in their high school athletic career and what they plan to take from their St. Andrew’s athletic experience to the next level.
What is your favorite moment from your high school athletic career?
Elizabeth: My favorite moment swimming at St. Andrew's would definitely be breaking the 50 free record at DISCS sophomore year! That had been my main goal for the season, so it felt really good to achieve it.
Flynn: I have a few top moments and a favorite. One was my first start in lacrosse against Wilmington Friends my freshman year. Another was finding out I had been named Team MVP and First Team All-Conference, but my favorite moment was actually a loss. It was a home game against Tower Hill my junior year. It was the best game of my career and an emotional rollercoaster. I knew going into the game that I needed to play well for us to have a chance, I finished the game with 12 saves on 70.5% save percentage. Even though I played the best game of my life that day, I remember being almost in tears after the game. Feeling responsible for the loss, I thought back to each of the 5 goals I had let in, asking myself what I should have done differently to make that save. I think the reason that this is my favorite memory is because it was my best game but still not enough to win. I learned that day to be ok with failure but not content, to use it as motivation to be the best.
Phin: It was winning the Cannon Game my freshman year because St. Andrew’s had not won it in several years and it was great to break that cycle.
Allaire: My freshman year we finished second in the state tournament and I played one of the top 5 players for 18 and under in the country. I played my best match ever!
Sage: Being a member of the varsity lacrosse team my freshman year was certainly daunting, considering the age, the physical, and mental maturity gap between myself and most of my teammates. However, the seniors that year made me and all the other freshmen feel welcome and taught us what it means to be a part of the lacrosse team at St. Andrew’s.
Cleo: I am so proud to have been a part of St. Andrew’s athletics. It is all about mindset. I have enjoyed that our team is competitive, but also fun, we definitely know how to have a good laugh.
Gavin: This is a difficult question for me. I have rowed for two different schools, and have gathered a lot of experiences between the two. I would have to say my favorite memory is from spring training in Florida with St. Augustine Prep. The training we had been doing all year was finally paying off, and the boat was fast and set. We had a collective sigh like we really could do well that season. Then covid hit, and we couldn’t see if our suspicions were true. But despite that, it was still one of the most exciting rowing moments I’ve ever had.
William: Mine was competing in the High School Squash Team Nationals my sophomore year. This is a trip that the squash team makes every year, but this was my first time playing number one on the ladder and having the responsibility of being a real leader on the team. Having that responsibility and watching everyone compete to the highest of their ability encapsulated the St. Andrew’s athletic experience. We ended up finishing third in our division, and had performed incredibly well all across the ladder. Moreover, the experience of being off-campus and traveling to Hartford for the tournament made us a close-knit group, and the time we spent together is some of my fondest memories from my entire St. Andrew’s career.
Sunny: It was the Stotesbury Cup my freshman year. In the semifinals, another boat pushed us out of our lane, preventing us from making the finals. We made a protest on the water but figured the judges did not see what happened. We were stunned that night at the hotel when the judges showed up to tell us they had reviewed the video and were creating a Lane 0 for us to compete in the Grand Finals! Coxing in Lane 0 meant I squished between Lane 1 and a 10 foot stone wall that went straight into the dock at the Finish Line. We came in 4th place, but the highlight for me was when I somehow managed to thread a needle in the last 20 strokes when Lane 0 went straight into the awards dock which I missed by a few feet.
After losing the multiple athletic seasons at SAS during your recruitment period, what did you do to market yourself? Did you have to get creative and try something new that athletes in the past did not have to do?
Cleo: It was hard trying to get recruited during Covid, having missed out on multiple athletic seasons, however, I had the opportunity over the summer to row for the Ready Set Row Development Camp. This camp helped me to recognize the mental obstacles in rowing and how to overcome them. Coach Lou Berl has been priceless, and she was instrumental in my recruitment process. I am very thankful for the time she took to reach out to college coaches.
Sage: I am eternally grateful to Ms. Pierce, Al Wood, and everyone else who was involved in allowing the lacrosse team to compete last spring. Without a junior season it would have been almost impossible for me to have this opportunity. I didn’t have an ounce of knowledge about the recruiting process before the end of last spring. Luckily, it was mostly normal, emailing coaches and visiting schools until I found the right one. I am grateful to my parents for supporting me throughout the recruiting process this summer and for my lacrosse career.
Phin: Because I didn’t have a junior football season it was hard to get in contact with college coaches. Over winter break I went to a showcase where they created a video of me going through drills and exercises. That video was then sent to coaches across the country. Over the past summer I talked with coaches from schools that I was interested in and went to camps that they were attending. I met coaches in person and got to play in front of them.
William: Of course losing multiple seasons due to COVID was a challenge in the recruiting process, but the pandemic took a toll mentally on all athletes. The drive for training for any athlete is the ability to compete and see your hard work come to fruition. There was a lot of work that I needed to do between my sophomore season and getting to a point where I could be recruited. Not being able to compete made that hard, but with support from my coaches here at St. Andrew’s and back home, I was able to get to where I needed in order to be recruited. St. Andrew’s unique nature as a boarding school with all of its students living on campus created a COVID bubble that allowed me to continue to train throughout the pandemic.
Elizabeth: During the fall of junior year, I joined a competitive swim club in St. Louis during the online portions of the school year. It was hard competing and training at first with girls who were in clubs consistently for much longer than I had been, but I eventually caught up. The recruiters gave a lot of grace and they understood the constraints and difficulties swimmers had with training. I think if I had not competed outside St. Andrew’s this past school year, I doubt coaches would have continued to see me as a committed swimmer.
Flynn: Losing my sophomore year was a massive blow to my recruitment effort. I knew that I would need to play Summer Ball if I wanted any chance to play in college. Amped Lacrosse out of Richmond, VA invited me to join their team and I jumped on the opportunity. The playing style is completely different and the competition is much higher. It was certainly an adjustment period, but each tournament was a new opportunity to demonstrate my skills. With the sidelines packed with D1 and D3 coaches I knew I needed to play my best, and after the first tournament I was lucky enough to have been contacted by Sewanee and the rest is history.
Allaire: I was lucky because being remote gave me the opportunity to move to a tennis academy for three months and train intensely. My success at tournaments with the academy led to a lot of offers. What drew me to Kenyon is that they are #1 tennis team in the midwest for it’s division so I got pretty excited about it when they offered.
Sunny: Being a coxswain, I was able to continue the same recruiting process. I reached out to college coaches and they looked at my film from the year before. However, the Berl’s gave me a good tip in asking the coaches if they wanted me to mock a race. This meant the coach would give me race obstacles and I would record the mock race of me coxing a boat.
Gavin: To be completely honest, I did not plan on being recruited. I went through my junior year thinking that I would hopefully just walk onto a team in college. And until the middle of the summer before my senior year, that was the plan. When I went to a USRowing camp that summer, there were a lot of coaches from the best schools in the country. Even then, I just planned on working hard through the camp. But then the coaches started to reach out, I was interested and thought I could be recruited. The funny thing is, Brown was not at the camp, but one of the coaches from the camp gave my name to Coach Cooke, and we started talking from there. I would just say that being open to anything and working hard is what got me to where I am.
What are you taking from your St. Andrew's athletic experience to the next step in your athletic career?
Sage: For me it was about the lessons of being on a team and how at St. Andrew’s that is a part of something greater than yourself. At the end of the day, nobody cares about individual statistics and achievements but about what that team accomplished. It doesn’t matter whether you played every second or not at all, everybody brings something to the table to help the team.
Allaire: Being here, I have grown to enjoy sports and want to continue playing sports, especially tennis, even after I graduate college. Who knows, maybe even coach or play in professional tournaments!
Gavin: These past years have afforded me many opportunities to grow in leadership and time management. Being team captain has taught me to be able to communicate with people and always to be present for everyone around me at all times. Sometimes it can be difficult to always be there for the whole team, but it has made me a better person and rower because of it. The way that St. Andrew’s structures its days make it paramount to be good at time management, and I know that will be a skill that will come in handy in college.
Sunny: I will be taking my love for being on a team with me to the next step in my athletic career. Through volleyball, swimming, and crew I have truly learned what the phrase “There is no I in team” means. Through sports I have learned how to fail and to learn from those mistakes; especially around people who support me! I cannot wait for my next journey. Go Eagles!
Elizabeth: My main takeaway is that you can work hard and do well in your sport while still maintaining other interests! Swimming will be a significant part of my college experience, but being involved in other aspects of campus life is important and possible.
Flynn: Over my time playing lacrosse here at St Andrews, I have learned a lot from the wins and from the losses. Both have instilled a work ethic that I plan to take with me to the next level.
Phin: Because St. Andrew’s is a small school where a lot of athletes are asked to help their team in multiple ways. Being an athlete here has taught me that you can always find a way to help out. At the next level, I am going to try and keep this mentality and do whatever I can for the team.
William: I have learned how to compete at the highest level and still have fun. When I was competing nationally during middle school I found the single-player nature of squash isolating. Although I loved the sport, competing wasn’t enjoyable for me, but that changed when I came to St. Andrew’s. Competing on St. Andrew’s squash team has completely changed my outlook on the sport. The closeness of the team has rekindled my love for the game, and pushed me to become a better player not just for myself but for my teammates.
Cleo: My experience here has taught me how to be resilient when faced with hardships, that a positive attitude and a smile can make any erg piece a little bit easier. I have always loved being a part of a team and am so sad to be leaving St. Andrew’s, but am so excited to bring the energy to Bucknell.