By Sebastian Gonzales,
Oftentimes, students have a specific campus in mind that they would like to attend, perhaps because of its exceptionally beautiful scenery or because it is a national leader in the field they hope to focus on. And unfortunately, the distasteful truth many athletes are faced with is that the college they have in mind is not on the list of schools that fits their collegiate level athletic goals.
Senior Evan Meerscheidt, one of Davis High’s men’s volleyball team captains, is one such athlete. Meerscheidt elected to not continue with varsity level athletics in college, and instead will move on with club and co-ed athletics.
“I could have played collegiately at a small East Coast school, but when I was in the process of applying to schools, academics took priority over volleyball,” Meerschiedt said.
Meerscheidt’s decision seems to be a common one among the Davis High athletic community in the recent past, as many top level athletes have been selecting academics over athletics when choosing where to spend the next four years of their lives.
Elite athletes from a variety of sports throughout Davis High are making this decision, and even though they perhaps are not at the level to play Division I, many could easily make the teams at smaller NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division III schools or the less common NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools.
Senior varsity soccer players Kyle Fix and Daniel Perez each had the option to play at such schools, but decided the time and effort necessary wasn’t desirable to them.
“I didn’t want to play in college because of the consistent nagging injuries I’ve had since June of last year. Playing in college also will take a lot of effort, time and hard work out of your life, and I’m looking to do other things,” said Perez, who will be attending San Francisco State University this fall.
Fix, who is going to Whitman College, had a similar outlook on the situation. However, he is still keeping the option of walking on open.
“I feel like academics are going to make a bigger impact on my life than sports will, so I’m going to college for academics, with sports being a possibility. Now I have the option to play, and the freedom of choice so that I’m not compelled to prioritize four years of athletics over what I feel will be a life-changing educational experience,” Fix said.
Natalie Silver, an ex-varsity field hockey and soccer player who graduated from DHS in 2014, chose to make the same decision as Meerscheidt.
“If I had gone all out my sophomore and junior year and let my coaches really do their thing and push me to train and get out in the recruiting world, playing [field hockey] at a Division I or Division II school could have been a possibility,” said Silver, who is currently finishing her freshman year at UC Berkeley .
The decision not to continue athletics was made in spite of the recruiting efforts of top ranked field hockey schools; Silver says she still receives emails from coaches asking her to play for their team.
“After attending the unhealthily competitive and academically rigorous Davis High School for three awesome years, I voluntarily turned right around and decided that what I wanted in my life was more school,” Silver joked as she looked back on her experience.
“No, I chose college over sport. I chose everything that high school and sport combined had denied me,” Silver said.