Signed to the Future

Mo Carter

An athlete signing to play at their dream school is often times something people only think happens in the movies. The idea that there are students in College Park that are actively making their dreams a reality can be surprising. However, with hard work and determination, there are athletes who are making it happen, and they are having fun along the way.


“I wrestle because I’ve been surrounded by a group of friends that have become family throughout the years,” said senior Jakob Smith, who signed to the Colorado School of Mines for wrestling.


The sports programs on campus are a kind of home away from home to many of the athletes. This environment, and the familial bond it creates, encourages players to their fullest potential. Everyone is at practices to work and get something out of their games, but when surrounded by close friends the work is just that much more rewarding.


“I play volleyball because team sports are so fun and everyone can feed off each other’s energy,” Paige Palmer, signed to Houston Baptist University, said.


Teams help lift one another up and congratulate these athletes on their accomplishments. As Palmer put it, they feed off the energies of their teammates, pushing themselves to obtain more on their respective courts. These students work hard everyday to reach their goals.


“It’s always been an outlet and something I enjoy working hard for,” Alexis McDaniell, a student signed to The University of Central Arkansas for volleyball, said.


While these athletes work hard on the court, they also have to maintain certain education standards in order to be signed to their respective colleges. Balancing a schedule of homework and practicing can be difficult for many. They may be rising star athletes, but these young men and women are also students.


“As I’ve gotten older it has been difficult to keep up with school work. I think it’ll get easier since at the next level we’re given a lot more help and support keeping up with everything,” McDaniell said.


Prioritization may be difficult when dealing with school and sports, but anyone who is dedicated can get something out of the activities. Having sports play such a big role in these peoples’ lives takes sacrifice, and anyone looking to get involved at this level should be aware of that.


“Make sure you’re motivated to practice every single day and be willing to sacrifice some time to get extra work in,” Smith said .


Each of these athletes encourage their fellow teammates and rely on the comradery to push themselves forward. For younger athletes looking to also achieve their goals, here are some words of advice.


“Start as early as you can and practice every chance you get, it goes by so fast  and every moment is very much worth it,” McDaniell said.