Going D1


Tyler Quisenberry

Lake Ridge swimmer working hard in the water at a swim meet. Photo courtesy of Tyler Quisenberry (ENN Staff)

It is many athletes’ dreams to continue their sport after high school, on a scholarship, and pursue a professional career. However, this future requires a great amount of commitment and sacrifice. For some, these dreams become reality, and the years of hard work result in a future of opportunities. 

Colleges tend to look for specific qualities in a student when recruiting for scholarships. Athletes must be great players, but also good students with the ability to abide by the school policies. Football Coach, Anthony Sheppard. has recognized what these colleges are looking for, and has been able to ensure that his athletes meet those requirements. 

“College is making a financial investment into a student athlete. The biggest thing a college coach is looking for is whether you can come to their campus and stay at their campus. You need to balance being a player and being a great student. Another big thing is character, and being able to trust that you can act right,” said Sheppard. 

Sports, for many, are viewed as something to fill your free time and to make new friends. Although this can be true in the beginning, as athletes grow in their sports, they begin to find that they have benefited in ways much more valuable. This growth is what causes many to pursue a future in this, and strive to follow their dreams. Senior, Samaya Medford, has been growing and learning from volleyball for nearly 7 years, and has been offered a scholarship to Louisiana Tech University. 

“I’ve been playing volleyball since 6th grade, and it’s helped me become a better person on and off the court. I would say the sky’s the limit, never stop dreaming and just put in the hard work, and you’ll definitely see progress,” said Medford. 

The process of actually receiving a scholarship, especially for sports, can be extremely difficult. Getting recognized by colleges can take time and effort, especially considering the many other students with the same overall goal. Senior, Clair Redmon, was dedicated to getting a sports scholarship and continuing her volleyball career, and did what it would take to achieve this.  

“It’s important for me to continue this sport because it’s taught me a lot and it’s helped me balance my life. During the recruiting process, I would email as many coaches as possible. I would just try to get my name out there,” said Redmon. 

While some athletes receive the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship, there are many who don’t, despite the work they’ve put in. This can bring a sense of competition to the environment, with teammates who have the same goals, but different accomplishments. Senior, Rylan Kennedy, is going to Texas A&M University on a football scholarship, and has seen the ways this has impacted his relationships with teammates. 

“Sometimes there will be teammates that are jealous, and teammates that are real with you. It can be competitive depending on the position that you play. It depends who your teammates are, but at Lake Ridge everyone supports each other,” said Kennedy. 

Working towards a college scholarship can feel very pressured at times. With the future in mind, it can be difficult to balance the stress of sports, along with keeping up with schoolwork. Senior, Lindsey Hughes, has received a soccer scholarship for Texas Woman’s University, after working through the stress of preparing for college. 

“I feel like there’s so much tension when it comes to a college level. I felt pressured because I didn’t want to let my parents down. They spent all this money on me for years and I knew that I needed to do something for them, so I wanted to make it memorable and worth it,” said Hughes. 

Although student athletes have to put in a great amount of work to get recruited for a scholarship, it also takes assistance from coaches and parents. While the students are balancing their school life with their sport, it can be difficult to ensure recruitment for a scholarship, especially by themselves. Coach Sheppard helps his athletes by reaching out to coaches and guiding them through the recruitment process. 

“It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With so many colleges dissipating college football, everyone’s looking to get players. We’re trying to put our guys [athletes] in front of colleges. It’s not a one person job, it’s kind of a partnership between the coaches, and players, and also the parents, because there’s stuff they have to fill out as well. The college coaches want things right, then and there,” said Sheppard. 

As athletes have worked through stress and pressure, and have grown from various experiences in their sports, they have prepared for their future beyond high school. With these students’ commitment and training, leading to the scholarships they have earned, they are ready to move on to the college level of their sports.