Seniors taking athletic careers to college level


Bradley Jankowski to bowl at St. Norbert College.

A dream turned reality is a goal for every young kid who plays sports. In high school, it all seems impossible or so far away. One never thinks of how much goes into becoming a college athlete, and it can be a rude awakening for some.

“Ever since I was a little kid, my dream was to play division 1 soccer,” says senior soccer standout Patrick Connolly.

Patrick is planning on playing soccer at Division I Northern Illinois University, but it is not final yet. It is more work and a more difficult decision then most think or realize.

“It takes a lot more than just wanting to play there, you have to communicate with coaches, visit the school. On top of that, you’re competing with other athletes getting recruited as well. It is a stressful process,” Says Connolly.

Saying that one will play college sports is the easy part, but finding  a place to play is the real kicker. Schools need to offer you a roster spot in order to be considered a college athlete. Before that, the student has to be accepted into the school. A student has to excel in high school to even be considered for a spot in the school that they apply.

“I never thought of everything that goes into being a college athlete, it was a dream that turned into a job,” said senior Stella Harrington, a member of the girl’s state champion soccer team in 2018.

Stella plans on walking on to the school of her choice. Her teammate and Tirabassi Athlete of the year award winner, Elizabeth Alia, plans on doing the same thing. It is not always about getting a scholarship or being the best. Sometimes walking on can be the best option because you can focus more on academics rather than athletics. Some of the best athletes are walk-ons.

Matt Hill, a senior, will be playing college baseball at Case Western Reserve University.

“I am excited to take my talents to the next level, it has always been a dream of mine,” says Hill.

Another student at St. Joseph is on a path that people often don’t think about. Bradley Jankowski, a senior, is going to college to bowl. Yes, bowl, throw a ball down the lane. 

“It is something that surprises most people when they first hear about it,  a 210 pound football player showing up at the bowling alley for some hard work is something that is not normal,” said Jankowski.

Bowling is a very popular college sport. There are no divisions, so every college goes head to head. Bradley will be attending St. Norbert College to fulfill his longtime dream. He is the only student in the history of the school that will be going to college for bowling (as far as can be determined). That was his dream as a kid and he intends to stick by it now as a college athlete. Will you one day play college sports, or is the stress and work of it getting in the way of your dream?