By Alison Gilbert
With college less than a year away, senior student-athletes prepare to transition from high school to collegiate sports
With college decisions made and graduation nearing, most high school seniors are preparing for the next step in their educational careers. For seniors like Lauren Hanover and Cris Miranda, college promises not only scholastic opportunities, but also the chance to take athletics to the next level. Hanover and Miranda are two of 44 students who will continue their athletic callings at the collegiate level.
Hanover will be playing lacrosse at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; she said the disciplined structure of the Academy was a selling point for her.
“I like the discipline of the structured curriculum,” Hanover said. “Also the people are really hard working and diligent.”
Miranda will be swimming at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. Miranda said he looks forward to higher-level athletics because they will push him mentally and physically.
“I am looking forward to staying in shape,” Miranda said. “I am glad that I will be able to continue to be part of a team.”
Before deciding on their respective colleges, Hanover and Miranda had to investigate each campus. Hanover visited the campus eight times before officially committing as a student and eventually an officer in the U.S. Navy. She also had to consider the Academy’s academic programs because of the specialized setup of the school.
“At Navy, [students] go to school for four years and then serve for five,” Hanover said. “I hope to be located out of the Middle East [for my service], because I will be majoring in Arabic.”
Similarly, Miranda had to consider Dickinson’s size, division and location before deciding upon the liberal arts school.
“I was down to OSU or Dickinson,” he said “I ended up choosing Dickinson because it felt like the right fit for me.”
Another important consideration in Hanover’s decision-making process was the competitive level of each school’s sports program. Hanover explained that the Naval Academy’s lacrosse team has dramatically improved in the last year.
“The team is now one of the top 16 programs in the nation and has qualified for the NCAA Championships this spring,” she said.
However, unlike Hanover, Miranda is excited to take a step down from the rigorous UAHS swimming program.
“I think that [swimming in college] will be much easier than the last four years at UAHS,” he said “I am just going to focus on having fun throughout my years in college.”
According to both Hanover and Miranda another benefit of playing a sport in college is the social aspect.
“As a freshman [at the Naval Academy], you are not allowed to speak to upperclassmen unless they initiate the conversation,” she said. “Lacrosse will hopefully give me a way to network and make friends who are older than me.”
Both seem to agree that despite challenges they may face within the rigorous world of their respective colleges, athletics will hopefully provide them with a way to make friends, stay focused and achieve their goals.
“I am ready to play [lacrosse] at the next level,” Hanover said. “And I am excited for the hard work that comes with it.”