The percentage of high school athletes who continue their athletic careers in college is incredibly slim, and that margin becomes even more miniscule as athletes move onward into a professional career in their respective sports or their respective studies.
Not many receive the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level, and it is a great pride for high schools to have star athletes continue to compete and play in college.
February 1 was a big day for three Harrison senior, varsity athletes.
Cade Bishop, an outside linebacker and defensive end for the Raider football team, signed to the Division I Valparaiso University.
Lexi DeCamp, a midfielder for the Lady Raider soccer team, signed to the Division I University of Northern Alabama.
Evan Phillips, a defensive midfielder for the Raider boys soccer team, signed to the Division II University of Indianapolis.
Bishop was given attention by multiple colleges and universities, but ultimately chose Valparaiso University.
“They showed the most genuine interest in me, and it was an opportunity to play DI college football,” said Bishop.
Bishop attributes his success to his parents and coaches, giving him the help and support he needed both on and off the field.
Although much of his focus will be on the field, the rest will be on his major in Actuarial Science.
Education is vital in the college athletics experience, and most student-athletes don’t squander their opportunity.
According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, 82 percent of Division I athletes are earning their degrees and overall, college student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than average college students.
DeCamp and Phillips, both devoted to the game of soccer, have separate paths in their soccer and academic careers.
DeCamp will trek to Alabama to study Business and Culinary Arts.
Phillips, who played for the Raider soccer team that was 2015 2A State Runner-Up, plans to major in International Business and most likely minor in Photography.
However these separate paths maintain interwoven roots of inspiration.
“There have been a lot of people over the past 10 years who have unselfishly spent a lot of time helping me to be a technically and tactically sound soccer player, but probably the two most important people have been my parents,” says Phillips. “Without my parents, none of my success would have been possible.”
DeCamp attributes her success to her parents and coaches as well.
“Playing in college has been a dream of mine ever since I was 4 years old, and the fact that it is coming true is so overwhelming,” said DeCamp. “I am so thankful for everyone who has been by my side through it all and I can’t wait to see where my college play will take me.”
College is where young adults make genuine memories and priceless life experiences that will help them develop into a responsible, contributing member of society.
This journey of self-discovery can be traced back to high school and throughout college, and with luck, students will take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.
“My favorite high school sports memories are those of the games when we came together on the pitch and achieved something special as a team,” says Phillips. “The feeling in those moments after the whistle blew, standing exhausted on the pitch, victorious with my teammates, is what I will always remember the most, and it’s that feeling that motivates me to want to continue on with soccer in college so that I’ll have the opportunity to have those same experiences again but on a bigger stage.”