Hats Off, Seniors

Students Commit to Athletics in College



photo by Kayla Le

Robby Cole, Staffer

Two years after opening as an independent high school, LASA has produced multiple students who will continue their athletic career at the college level next year. On March 30, 2023 LASA held its official signing day in which students showed off their college colors and finalized their athletic commitments for college.

Senior Sophie Sun is captain of the LASA girls’ softball team and has played on the varsity team for four years. After receiving an offer from Harvard University, her lifelong dream school, Sun committed in December 2022 to play Division One (D1) softball there. 

“It was definitely very exciting,” Sun said. “It was my first D1 offer, and I had seen them come to watch me before. Harvard has been a dream school since I was in middle school, so obviously when I got that offer I was very grateful, [and] very excited.”

According to Sun, students recruited by colleges have been working hard for years in high school to improve their skills and present themselves to possible recruitment coaches and scouts. Sun said athletes must not only display their best abilities, but also work to get exposure by contacting coaches and attending camps years before graduation. Depending on the division level, coaches can begin contacting students in their sophomore or junior year, according to Sun.

“It’s just hard work and work ethic,” Sun said. “If you practice for 15-20 minutes more than everybody else you’re gonna get better over time. You [also] need to send a bunch of emails, [and] you need to get into contact with coaches and make it known that you want to be recruited. September 1 of your junior year is when every Division One school can start contacting you. Before then, D2s and D3s can talk to you. So that’s what happened with me, and September 1, Harvard was one of the schools that called, and then I committed in December.”

Senior Hays Turner has also been preparing for years to play sports in college. Turner said he’s been playing soccer for almost 13 years and has been able to play for an Early College National League in Austin, making him no stranger to the pitch and has built up the soccer team during his four years at LASA. This year, the LASA boys’ soccer team won district in their division for the first time in history, with Turner leading the team as captain to a 14-0 win streak. 

“I am the attacking midfielder for the team, so my role is to score goals and to also help the team attack and defend,” Turner said. “[Our] proudest moment was winning district for the first time in LASA boys soccer history. This year we won the game against Northeast, the second best team in our district, and we beat them 3-1 in a very intense game.”

According to Turner, his contributions to the soccer program at LASA did not go unnoticed, and he was soon being recognized for his talent as both a player and captain. Turner said he was quickly contacted to continue playing soccer at Carleton University last year.

“I was a little nervous as to whether Carlton would work out,” Turner said. “Then I got the letter of acceptance and was just happy and excited to start this new process in my life. The coach was excited to have me, and he said he could help me get into the school, and it’s a very good school, and I could also be on the team.”

Senior Kepler Huntress is a track athlete who specializes in the 800 meter and 400 meter events. Huntress won first place in the 800 meter event at state last year and has gone on to compete at national level competitions such as the New Balance Nationals this year, having recently set a personal record in the 800 meter: a minute and 52 seconds. This past year, Huntress’s talent was recognized by multiple colleges looking to add him to their teams. For him, the decision to commit toMichigan University was easy and he officially committed as a D1 track athlete in 2022.

“The Michigan coach, he’s amazing,” Huntress said. “He seemed a lot more personal about the whole situation than a lot of other coaches across the country and seemed like he knew his stuff and could understand where I was coming from, which made it easier for me.”

RISE AND SIGN Sophie Sun (left) and Kepler Huntress (right) were present at the signing
event on March 29th in the large gym. Many students and parents atteneded to watch these athletes and many others hard work come to a head. photo by Lasya Sangana (lasya)

Huntress said he’ll miss his time spent on the LASA track team but is looking forward to his future at Michigan. Huntress said his work is paying off after reaching out to coaches for months to get offers.

“[College track] is  like a breath of fresh air,” Huntress said. “It’s a bunch of new people I get to be around that care about it as much as I do and where the main focus is track, where it’s not where I’m having to deal with a bunch of other stuff going on. They make sure that I’m able to compete, and that’s a priority, which is really nice.”

Sun said her time playing softball and helping guide new players has been very beneficial to her progression as she continues to improve. Now, moving onto a new stage of her softball career, Sun is looking forward to the benefits of college sports and the new environment.

“I’m very excited because with collegiate softball you’re able to train every single day,” Sun said. “They help you schedule your labs, and your classes, to ensure that you have enough time to pursue the major that you want. Everyone around me is also going to be very motivated, and I really am looking forward to how there’s a whole coaching staff dedicated to helping you improve.”