By Melody Park
Four seniors have received sports scholarships to Division 1 universities across the U.S. this year.
Senior Maia Inniss received a scholarship to play soccer at Eastern Washington University; Senior Irene Rivera received a scholarship to play softball at Stonybrook University; Senior Alyssa Deobler received a full ride scholarship to play volleyball at Seattle University; and Senior Rachel Kayongo received a full ride scholarship to play volleyball at University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
Of the high school students who do get sports scholarships for college, approximately one percent of those are full ride scholarships to Division 1 universities, according to ncsasports.org. Division 1 is the highest level of college athletics. Division 1 receives a lot of attention, is scholarship dense, and is heavily funded.
If there’s one thing that these athletes agree on, it is that the process was grueling. They had to send out emails every weekend, maintain contact with several coaches, make sure those coaches came to watch them play at tournaments, and compile recruitment videos to show their skills.
“Communicating with coaches got tough because of different time zones. I’d have to call schools at 5:00 a.m.,” Kayongo said. “It was really stressful. When I would get home from school, I still had other colleges to apply to not for volleyball.”
Of course, fear was one of many different emotions felt during the signing process, but family and friends were present to offer their support.
“I was always told not to worry, that there’s a school out there for me, and that’s definitely what I found,” Rivera said.
Division 1 athletics stir a lot of excitement for both players and fans. After visiting Eastern Washington University’s campus, Inniss said, “The entire D1 feel was something else. It gave me a whole new look on how I could be playing the game. I know playing D1 college soccer and going to school at the same time will be a hard thing to adapt to, but I’m ready to do my best.”
Rivera, captain of girls varsity softball, is excited for a new experience. “Ever since I was little, I wanted to go far. New York is the perfect location,” Rivera said. Rivera will receive a scholarship that covers 75% of all her total cost of attendance, including tuition, room, and board.
These remarkably talented athletes were looking for much more than just free money and a school to lend their athletic skill.
They wanted to go to college where they would be appreciated for their character and athletic abilities as well.
Deobler, Inniss, Kayongo, and Rivera are more than just athletes.They have the passion, ambition, and strength to take on brand new experiences in brand new places, and have plenty to offer their respective schools.