Senior athletes commit to colleges

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Photo by Antonio Ferraiolo

Antonio Ferraiolo ’21 plays soccer in a Lake Forest Academy match.

Rachel Johns, Managing Editor of News

In a year void of Senior Nights and college signing events, we at The Spectator wanted to highlight a few senior student athletes who are going to continue their athletic career in college. After honing their intellect and athleticism over the last four years at LFA, Lizzie Frekko, Antonio Ferraiolo Galvao Costa, and Hannah Liu are taking their sport to the next level. To get their perspectives on the culmination of their scholastic and athletic prestige they were interviewed. Some of their responses have been edited for length and clarity. If you are a senior student athlete who is going on to play a DI, DII, or DIII sport in college, contact Rachel Johns to be featured in the next edition of The Spectator. 

Lizzie

What sport are you playing in college?

Tennis.

What college or university are you committing to?

Bates College.

What division are you playing in?

Division III.

How did you start playing your sport?

I started playing tennis when I was five years old. I started doing a weekly group with my 3 best friends from preschool. I was the only one out of the four who ended up sticking with tennis and as I got older I started to take more individual lessons and participate in more groups until I became a competitive tournament player.

What do you love about your sport?

I love playing tennis because you are the only one out there. You are responsible for everything that happens in a match which requires you to be mentally solid. In every match you will make mistakes and have bad shots but you have to stick with it if you want to win. The grit that tennis matches require makes winning even more rewarding.

What are you looking forward to most about playing in college?

I am beyond excited to play college tennis. I think it will be an amazing experience to meet new people from around the world but also have that mutual bond of tennis. 

What drew you to your college’s athletic program?

I really liked the Bates Athletic program because being a Division 3 school, tennis is not the sole focus. The coaches really prioritize the academics which to me is the most important thing because I know I will not be going pro. Also, I know a girl who is currently on the team and absolutely loves it which was a huge factor for me when I was choosing between very similar programs.

How has LFA shaped your athletic experience?

LFA has shaped my athletic experience because I have been able to play on a team which I don’t get to do traveling to tournaments on my own. The team atmosphere is amazing, and I love being able to cheer people on the same way they cheer me on. I also have had some amazing coaches that have helped me push through and ultimately win many tough matches.

Any final comments?

I am really grateful for the experience I have gotten at LFA that has created me into the student-athlete that I am today.

 

Hannah

What sport are you playing in college?

Swimming.

What college or university are you committing to?

The University of Pennsylvania.

What division are you playing in?

Division I.

How did you start playing your sport?

I started swimming competitively when I was 10 years old, but it was during the 2008 Beijing Olympics that sparked my interest in the sport. In China, I remember watching Michael Phelps’s historical 100 Fly race on TV. Seeing him beating his opponent by 0.01 seconds made me think, “I want to do that!” Afterward, I went up to my aunt and asked if I could start swim lessons at a local pool. The rest is history. 

What do you love about your sport?

Swimming has taught me perseverance, grit, and discipline. At the same time, it has taught me patience and the importance of self-care. I owe the life lessons I’ve encountered to my sport. Swimming has raised me up but also pounded me down. Even during the rough times, the fact that I’m still here today showed me that I’m stronger now than I was before. I am who I am today because of my sport.

What are you looking forward to most about playing in college?

College swimming goes to a whole new level. The pressure’s on, but the team environment is even stronger than before. You will naturally be surrounded by like-minded people that will motivate and encourage you towards success. You will be pushed to do more incredible things, and you will have the resources to help you. These are the aspects of college swimming that I’m the most excited about.

What drew you to your college’s athletic program?

UPenn embodies the idea of a student athlete’s dream: high tier academics and competitive athletics. They are currently ranked 4th in the Ivy League, but judging from their performance last year in the Ivy League Championships, they will most likely place even higher in the next few years. I wanted to be a part of that successful movement, so I chose to commit to UPenn.

How has LFA shaped your athletic experience?

LFA has shaped my athletic experience with its supportive community and emphasis on balancing academics and athletics. First off, I can’t imagine where I would be now without the support of my friends, teachers, teammates, and coaches here at LFA. Second, I owe it to LFA for teaching me how to manage a challenging curriculum while training competitively in a sport. My experiences here these past four years have taught me lessons that I will hold onto as I go off to college next year.

Any final comments?

I want to give a special “thank you” to everyone who has been there for me during this journey. I’m infinitely grateful for all of you. To those who are thinking about delving into the athlete recruiting process: do it! The process is challenging by no means, but the outcome is so rewarding. If you ever need help, feel free to reach out!

 

Antonio

What sport are you playing in college?

Soccer.

What college or university are you committing to?

Vassar College.

What division are you playing in?

DIII

How did you start playing your sport?

I always grew up with [soccer]. I grew up in a Brazilian household so it was always like a religion. I was watching soccer and eating barbecue every Sunday. It’s stuck with me all these years.

What do you love about your sport?

They way that it brings people together. You don’t need a lot of equipment. All you need is some sort of ball-shaped object. It doesn’t even have to be a ball. You can play soccer with a bottle. It’s a really low-maintenance sport, so anyone can really play it. It brings people together from all over the world.

What are you looking forward to most about playing in college?

Playing at the next level and meeting people from around the world. Playing collegiately was always a dream of mine. To do it at such a highly academic institution will help me get the best of both worlds academically and athletically. I will definitely be amazing.

What drew you to your college’s athletic program?

It’s one of the premier Division III programs in the country. They are a part of a really good division on the East Coast. [Vassar] is also in New York. I’m majoring in Economics, and New York is a business capital. Getting close to Wall Street was the plan, and I was able to do that by going to Vassar.

How has LFA shaped your athletic experience?

LFA has helped me so much. From talking to school to colleges to getting advice from Mr. Madeley and Coach Mak, LFA has really helped me find the school that is perfect for me academically. When I found the academic fit for me, I went ahead and reached out to [Vassar’s] coaches. Then everything worked out great.

Any final comments?

I’m very fortunate. Due to Covid, I know a lot of people are still trying to get recruited [for college athletics]. I was very fortunate to play games in front of the coaching staff I liked. 

 

Mathieu

What sport are you playing in college?

Ice Hockey

What college or university are you committing to?

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

What division are you playing in?

D I

How did you start playing your sport?

When I was around 3 years old, I was seeing my big brother play and I wanted to be just like him. Also, being from Québec, I was pretty much born with skates on.

What do you love about your sport?

I love the mix of speed, skills and physicality that the game brings. On top of that, I get to do the thing I love the most while being with some of my best friends.

What are you looking forward to most about playing in college?

I am really looking forward to playing at the highest amateur level in the country and having the opportunity to get better everyday to help me fulfill my dream of becoming a pro hockey player.

What drew you to your college’s athletic program?

The opportunity to attend such a prestigious school while having the ability to play and develop myself in such a competitive environment is something that I couldn’t pass on. In addition, the program’s culture and values really match mine. Finally I have confidence that the coaching staff will challenge me to reach the next level.

How has LFA shaped your athletic experience?

Playing at LFA allowed me to compete against older guys on a daily basis. Also, having access to the ice at all times allowed me to improve my individual skills but also, have fun and “escape reality” with my friends. LFA’s facilities are everything a student-athlete would ever dream of. In addition, we had the opportunity to visit NCAA campuses and play in their arenas which was great. Lastly, Coach Madeley is a great mentor for me and has helped me become a better person and hockey player.

Any final comments?

My time spent at LFA has challenged me academically and socially.  I am convinced my experience has prepared me for my college years and my future career.