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How CDH Supports Exceptional Athletes

By Staff, 12/13/19, 1:15PM CST


Brynn Carlson '17 is one of many Raiders who have gone on to play college sports. She is now a volleyball player for Kansas State.

Brynn Carlson '17 is one of many Raiders who have gone on to play college sports. She is now a volleyball player for Kansas State.

More than 80 percent of Raiders participate in athletics every year at CDH. For most of them, sports provide an exceptional opportunity to develop discipline, teamwork, and leadership while having fun. 

According to Athletic Director Phil Archer ‘99, the goal of the athletic program at CDH centers on giving all our student-athletes a chance to improve, participate and build character and lifelong skills. “For many of our student-athletes, participating in high school sports provides life lessons in ways that go far beyond the competition on the field or the court,” explained Archer. "While many of our students continue their sport into college, the experience our kids have in high school is our primary focus.”

However, some of our athletes choose to pursue athletics in college and beyond.

For those who do aspire to collegiate athletics, there are a few things you and your parents need to know:

Middle school – 10th Grade

Now is the time to focus on fundamentals. Young athletes don’t need to worry about getting attention from college coaches just yet, they need to focus on being great athletes and great students.

This means focusing on being coachable, a good teammate, committed, and perfecting the fundamentals of their sport. Many college coaches will not want to take on even an exceptional athlete if they have a reputation for being a bad teammate, poor student, or if they do not represent themselves well online.

Now is also the time to learn about the academic requirements for being a college-level athlete. There are specific requirements that NCAA athletes must fulfill. In order to fully qualify, you must have at least a 2.3 core GPA and a summative score of a 75 on the ACT. Mike Brewer, School Counselor, can help you navigate the academic requirements and make sure you’re on track.

“It’s imperative to do well right from the beginning. The moment you start 9th grade, the NCAA tracking begins. We’ve had student-athletes down to the wire because they didn’t focus in 9th grade,” Brewer said.

Keep in mind that athletic scholarships are not available at D3 schools, so being a strong student, participating in community service, and staying involved in other activities could help students earn both admission and scholarships to attend the school of their choice down the road. 

11th-12th Grade

While the rare student-athlete does get recruited early in high school, coaches are not allowed to reach out to athletes until after their sophomore year. Most student-athletes are recruited as juniors and seniors. 

If you’re hoping to play sports in college, make sure your coach knows about your goals! They can help you understand what you need to do to grow, and they have relationships with college coaches that can help you get connected.

Make sure to keep your coach up to date throughout the recruitment process. If you are contacted by a college to discuss recruitment, let your coach know so that they can help you understand your options and find the best fit for the experience you want. The coaches at CDH want to help you have the most success you can after graduation, and they can’t help if they’re not in the loop. Transparency is essential, because your coach can only help you navigate your options if they know the whole story.

There are many companies out there who will try to sell you recruitment assistance, promising to put you in front of college coaches and help you get recruited. The truth is, paying one of them is almost always a waste of money. Keep in mind that college athletics programs have massive budgets, and their primary goal is to find great athletes to fill their teams. If you are a talented athlete who has been working hard on and off the field, you will be found.  Plus, the team at CDH has helped hundreds of students navigate this process – your coaches and counselors have the expertise to help you reach your goals.

Brynn Carlson ’17 now plays volleyball at Kansas State. She chose to graduate early, in December of 2016, which meant she needed extra support to navigate fulfilling all of her credits.

“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without the team at CDH,” she said. “I wasn’t only allowed but encouraged, supported, and given lots of options to achieve my goals.” 

During the second half of high school, you’ll also want to make sure you understand the rules of the NCAA eligibility center and have fulfilled all of the academic requirements – Mike Brewer is a great resource to help you with this. CDH has an excellent academic reputation, and you will be able to academically qualify if you follow our curriculum and earn good grades in all of your classes.

Daniel Oturu ’18 was a stand-out basketball player at CDH and is now leading in both scoring and rebounding at the University of Minnesota.

“The amount of support that student-athletes receive from the administration, coaches, counselors, teachers at CDH is unmatched,” he said. “That support has me on pace to get my undergraduate degree in 3 years and start my graduate degree.”

The college athlete recruitment process can feel murky, but the CDH coaches and counselors are here to support you and your family. Go Raiders!