From childhood dream to D3 reality

Camille Botello, Staff Writer

Of the eight million students participating in high school sports, only about 480,000 continue to play at the college level, according to the NCAA.

When deciding to play college sports, students must determine if balancing athletics and academics is feasible, if they want to explore their other interests instead, or whether they are willing to commit to a full season, potentially missing campus events and spontaneous trips home.

So, what’s the transition from high school to college sports actually like? Some Linfield freshmen shared their experiences.

“After tearing my labrum and not being able to play for eight months, it made me realize that I’ve taken the sport for granted. Sitting on the side and watching my teammates play was even more difficult because it really made me wish I could be there playing alongside them,” Chelsea Horita, a Linfield softball player said.

Not only did she tear her labrum during her sophomore year, she also tore her ACL the summer before her senior year. “I just find it pretty amazing that I was given the opportunity to play collegiate ball because after those two major injuries, I would have never thought that I’d step onto a field and play college ball,” she said.

“I guess I would say that I would feel lost without having soccer in my life, and decided that I would give it a shot and see how it went,” Corbin Mitchell, a defender on the men’s soccer team, said.

Hanna Bingham, a member of Linfield’s basketball team said she fell in love with the game in middle school. “I would play pickup games with a bunch of my friends, and one-on-one with my dad too. My high school club coaches first gave me the idea, (to play at the collegiate level) and were a huge part in making it all happen.”

“My older brother is a senior on the football team, so I had a lot of exposure to the culture and friendships he developed through his experience. My dad coached college and high school football, and my best memory is probably hanging out in my dad’s office and eating the Red Vines he kept in his cabinet,” rookie wide receiver Corey Chandler said. “Linfield felt like the right fit for me, and my high school team didn’t win very many games, so I was excited to join a winning program.”

Linfield has a dominant athletic culture, and students come from around the country and world to be a part of winning teams. As a result of rigorous practices and workouts, they are turned into some of division three’s most talented athletes.

“Having to transition from playing at the high school level to the collegiate level is a tough process, but so far it’s been great!” Bingham exclaimed.

Horita is currently in the softball offseason, but finished the three week “fall ball” period in late September. “So far the drills we did during practice were really similar to the drills that we would do on my summer ball team. I really like it but it’s difficult in the sense that we run and condition way more than on my club team.”

“The level of intensity is definitely higher than high school and the players have become much large; I guess more like actual grown men,” Mitchell said.

“The offensive and defensive schemes are a lot more complex, and players are much bigger and faster. I’m definitely excited to get a shot at more playing time. This offseason is going to be a big opportunity for me to improve my game and do everything I can to earn a spot in the rotation,” Chandler said about his football career.

Adapting to new coaches, plays, and teammates can be overwhelming, but Linfield athletes have no ulterior motives. Linfield athletes play for the love of the game.