With the year coming to an end, seniors are beginning to say their goodbyes. Some of the Class of 2023 are leaving with scholarships for their achievements in sports and have some important words of wisdom for underclassmen.

“I would tell people who are trying to get a scholarship that you need to reach out beyond your area and play [against] people all over the country. You have to put yourself out there,” senior Michael Graziano said. “Enjoy the process and work as hard as you can, but don’t rush the time because it goes away fast.” 

Athletes stress that students only get so much time in high school. Although four years seem like a long time, they come to an end rather quickly. Many advise to not spend that time thinking of how someone could be better but instead to do the actions that will cause improvements. Doing challenging things and stepping out of the comfort zone is how students will get the experience that makes them into great athletes. 

“I’d tell others that it’s really important to keep up with your academics in high school because it will pay off when it comes time to apply for scholarships. The better your grades are, the more scholarship opportunities you’ll have,” senior Katy Lynch said. “Don’t focus so much on what division the school is. Playing sports at the college level is a huge privilege regardless of division.” 

Lynch explains the importance of picking a school where one would be happy and successful in both sports and academics. The importance does not lie with what school offers the scholarship but rather with reaching personal goals. Reaching out to coaches and being known are equally important when looking to enter the collegiate level. 

“Some challenges were getting my name out there and contacting coaches,” senior Reilly Witmer stated. “A good mental head space is strength that all athletes should have when trying to get committed.” 

In order to perform at their best ability, athletes must have a strong mentality and the ability to put the game first over outside issues. After playing for so long and getting the experience that Naples High provides, the advice any senior can give is important for all underclassmen students hoping to achieve similar goals for college. 

“Being dedicated to the work ethic and not being afraid of putting in the hours is all it takes to become the athlete colleges will want on their teams,” Lynch said.