There are so many routes to securing a college scholarship.
The offers can come flying in for athletes like Desert Vista football player Jalen Jelks and track athlete Makenzi Holmes-DiGiovine, who are attending Oregon and Auburn, respectively.
Or the decision can come early like lefty hurler Isaiah Deutcsh, who committed to Pepperdine when he was a freshman at Brophy before sitting out last season after transferring to Desert Vista.
Most of the time, however, the process is a long, nerve-racking, frustrating time in a student-athlete’s life that eventually ends in one of the most proud and memorable moments of life.
Some are late bloomers, some are torn between taking the offer in hand and waiting for the one they want and others have to fight through setbacks while trying to show they can compete at the next level.
The Thunder’s Shea Koepnick committed to Arizona State softball after barely seeing the field because of back surgery. Most of the schools that pursued her backed off while she recovered, while the Sun Devil coaching staff never let up.
“It was a huge deal that they kept checking in with me,” she said. “They were really the only ones that believed I could come back from my surgery. It meant a lot to me.”
Joe Underwood knows a bit about persevering and overcoming as he will be heading to Missouri for swimming and basketball as a wheelchair-bound athlete after being born with spina bifida.
“Missouri started out toward the bottom of my list, but it ended up being the right place,” Underwood said. “I’ve had to work hard like any other athlete to get into this position and it is a great feeling.”
Then there are the boys lacrosse players, Anthony Abbadessa (Colgate) and Lance Pavlina (Essex Community College in Baltimore), who found a way to get noticed in a sport that is almost strictly played back East at the college level.
It’s only a club sport in Arizona and they, along with Ivy Richey, who will play for ASU’s women’s program, earned a shot at the next level just like the 25 or so other Thunder athletes who were on the dais at Wednesday’s national signing day.
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