June 19, 2024
Julia DiMaria in action
Photographed by: Matthew Schreiber

Well seniors of Hills West, the year is finally here. The final standardized tests are being taken, essays are being edited, and the general student body is hard at work on the wonderful and joyous process of college applications. However, it may or may not be known that several of our seniors are already committed to universities for their performances in athletics. While much of the stress of college applications is out of the way for these seniors, the recruitment process can be just as stressful as the normal process, making it quite a prestigious honor.

“Recruiting in college sports is when colleges contact and watch kids that they feel can play a role in developing his or her [specific] program,” explained senior Luke Stampfl, who has committed to Fordham University for baseball.  This process can involve coaches coming to watch a student from as far as all the way across the country.  “Every weekend a different coach made the trip out to my house, whether it was Columbia, U-Penn, Cornell or even Hofstra. It’s a very unique experience in the respect that instead of having to convoke a school to accept me, like most students, the coaches were trying to make me pick them. It is all very humbling,” commented senior Tyler Grimaldi who recently committed to Harvard University for wrestling.

Unlike many students who did not have a definite idea of where they wanted to attend college until their senior year, Julia DiMaria had her mind made up to attend Northwestern all throughout high school.  DiMaria will be attending Northwestern University in the fall, having committed for lacrosse. “When I was young, Northwestern was a dream school for me. All throughout high school I had been contacting them and when I saw Northwestern was interested, I immediately planned a visit and fell in love. By the time I was back in NY, I had called my coach and committed,” explained DiMaria.

So how does it feel to have the stress of college applications out of the way so early in the year? “To be committed so early is like a huge weight off my shoulders. The call to Harvard, letting them know that I chose them was an easy one, but the calls to other coaches, whom I had formed strong relationships with, were very hard. It was almost like losing a friend,” Grimaldi explained.  “There is no better feeling then to not have to worry about the application letters and acceptance letters,” Stampfl went on to say. It’s safe to assume the feeling is a grand relief, but what does this mean for the rest of the school year?  “Pretty much to keep up my grades and discipline because I wish to go pre-med which I know will be difficult!” said DiMaria. While planning to keep his grades up as well, Stampfl also plans on working with his team to win the baseball counties, “My teammates mean everything to me and this will be our last season together. We all have come to the realization that life is going to change dramatically over the next few years, and this will be our last time to really enjoy ourselves out on the baseball field with each other.”

College dramatically affects the course of the life of an individual, and our committed athletes here all seem to have some kind of general idea of what they would like to pursue after college and what they hope the schools they have chosen can do to help them pursue these careers.  For Stampfl, while a career is baseball would be what he most wants to pursue, the business program at Fordham was a major factor in what led him to make his decision.  “I have taken the initiative to go to the best business school that I could get into because I realize that doing [well] in school and having the assurance that a job awaits you after college is much more promising then a professional sports career, which I do prefer,” Stampfl commented.  For DiMaria, a sports-related injury inspired her to possibly want to pursue a career in sports medicine. “After I tore my ACL, I have been intrigued in wanting to do something with sports injuries, possibly an orthopedic surgeon… I don’t want to give up sports being in my life,” she explained.  As for Grimaldi, medicine sounds ideal as well, “I try not to think so far into it though, because I don’t want to close my mind off to any opportunities that could be in front of me.”

It doesn’t stop with just these seniors however.  Anna Inserra has been recruited to Washington State for lacrosse.  Willie Holmquist has been recruited to Tufts University in Massachusetts for lacrosse as well.  Senior Paris Ryder has been recruited to the University of Arkansas for gymnastics.

One part of their journey may have ended, but a whole new one is just beginning for our recruits. A school career of hard work, sacrifice, and commitment has put these students in the door for a bright future in not just sports, but other fields of study.