A look into WHS athletes and the college recruiting process


Pictured above are the members of the Class of 2016 who were recruited to play a sport in college. WSPN interviewed WHS athletes who plan on playing a sport in college to gain insight about the college recruiting process.

Hannah Rice and Abby Mitty

Wayland High School is a school known for athletics. Multiple teams over the past few years have gone into state tournaments, and some have ended up with the state title. Wayland’s success wouldn’t be possible without outstanding athletes to represent our school.

Many students at WHS strive to take their athletic abilities beyond the high school levels.

More than ten students at WHS have committed to a college to continue their athletic career, and there are more in the process of recruiting. The recruiting process comes with challenges, but many students are committed to taking them on.

There are two ways to commit to a school: a verbal commitment or through a National Letter of Intent. A verbal commitment is announcing that you intend to play for that school if you get in. However, it is non-binding on both the athlete’s side and the school’s side. A National Letter of Intent, or NLI, is a binding agreement between the athlete and the school. If a student signs, they are agreeing to attend the school for one academic year, and the school is agreeing to provide athletic financial aid for one academic year. All Division I schools and most Division II schools, with the exception of the Ivy League and Service Academies, offer NLIs. No Division III schools offer NLIs.

Senior Kirsten Grazewski plays soccer, lacrosse and swims for Wayland. Grazewski is one of the only athletes from WHS to verbally commit to a college for two major college sports, lacrosse and swimming, at Tufts University.

There are three divisions of sports in college. Division I, is the highest division, with year long training and full commitment to the team. Division I sports also offer scholarships sometimes. Division II is the second division, with high commitment levels, and lots of training, but not as many colleges offer scholarships. Lastly, there is Division III, which doesn’t offer any scholarships, and the training isn’t as often.

“For a while I thought I wanted to play Division I lacrosse, but I really had to take a step back and think about what else I was looking for in my college experience aside from sports. This is when I decided Division III was a better fit,” Grazewski said.

“Remember that you should fall in love with a school for a hundred reasons other than the sport you are being recruited for before deciding where to commit,” Grazewski said.

Senior Brendan Kiernan is committed to Division III Williams College for wrestling. He began the recruiting process during early April of his junior year.

“The hardest thing about the recruiting process is figuring out when the coaches are being genuine,” Kiernan said. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell how excited the coaches are about you.”

Another athlete who is invested in sports at WHS is sophomore Lily Tardif. This past winter, Tardif committed to Georgetown University for lacrosse, a Division I school.

Tardif found playing in front of college scouts to be the most challenging part of the recruiting process.

“Recruiting tournaments have hundreds of coaches at them as well as hundreds of girls. Many of the girls there want the same thing you do and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by that and let it get inside your head,” Tardif said. “It was extremely nerve-wracking seeing coaches on the sidelines of my games with their clipboards and college logo on every piece of clothing. I would have a panic attack every time I dropped a pass or missed a shot but I eventually got used to the coaches being there and figured out how to keep going and not let one bad play impact the whole game.”

It is rare for a sophomore to commit to a sport at such a high level. Wayland has another early committing athlete. Junior Jackie Stoller committed to Lehigh University as a sophomore as well.

Tardif has always been interested in pursuing lacrosse in college, yet wasn’t able to start the recruiting process until her freshman year because of NCAA restrictions. Because there are larger rosters, with more positions to be filled, the recruiting process for lacrosse begins earlier than some other sports.

“Freshman year, through the fall of my sophomore year was prime time for many of the schools I was interested in, therefore I had to start when I did,” Tardif said.

If you are a student interested in playing sports in college or are in the recruiting process already, the best advice comes from those with first hand experience.

“Be proactive and reach out to coaches,” Kiernan said. “Unless you are a national phenom and clearly D1 bound, the coaches from schools you want to go to will probably not come to you first.”

“Remember that coaches notice the little things,” Tardif said. “They take note of how hard you cheer on your teammates, how you interact with your coaches and respond to their feedback. They will notice what you do after you miss a pass: do you sprint after it or let a teammate get it? Little things like that can make a huge difference and constantly having a smile on your face and being a good teammate goes a long way.”