Any athlete dreams of pursuing his or her respective sport at the collegiate level. Putting pen to paper is a finite mechanism that turns those dreams into reality, as for the nine rising stars appointed to the Riverview High School gymnasium. This contrasting list, nothing short of diverse, is comprised of names you may not want to forget.
Andres Freire, senior soccer player committed to the University of South Florida; Jason Brzozowski, senior swimmer committed to Florida State University; Aaron Whitley, senior golfer committed to the University of North Florida; Adrian Pawlowski, senior tennis player committed to Boston University, Madison Binkley and Noa Askren, both senior beach volleyball stars, with Binkley also committed to Florida State University and Askren committed to Stetson University; and last but not certainly least, the big three seniors from the Varsity baseball squad encompassing the public figure known as d1kobi, or Jakobi Davis, who is committed to Cornell University; the heart of the hide Cole Griffith, committed to Polk State College; and leading light Karson Ligon, committed to the University of Miami.
Despite all these resounding commitments, there was one more action needed to be undertaken by every athlete. And so that miniscule gesture, you say, is signing the pinnacle of their journey for the next two or four years of their life--the letter of intent. Defined as a document outlining the understanding between two or more parties which understand they intend to formalize in a legally binding agreement, this piece of paper dignifies an extraordinary artifact in the college recruiting process.
Yet, all the signees may have elicited a sense of desperation as the date of signing day was pushed back from Friday, Nov. 13 to the next week on Nov. 16. An extra three-day wait forced these athletes to put their patience to the test as the slight delay was able to be overcome.
After a brief introduction from athletic director Rod Dragash and illustrious speeches given by the mentors of these young competitors, the wait was finally over. It was finally time for each commit to situate his or her signature on top of the bold, black line and confirm the next two or four years of life.
After they finished, an emphatic round of applause saturated the Riverview gymnasium consisting of the multitude of family members from parents to siblings to grandparents and teammates and coaches of these special people to ratify their next decisions in life.
Binkley was ecstatic to share this moment with Askren, whom have been playing together before middle school, as she describes their relationship together by preaching “Hustle until you no longer have to introduce yourself.” A member of the varsity volleyball squad all four years and member of the varsity beach volleyball squad the last two years, Binkley constructed an incredibly lasting first impression to her coaches by revealing her hard-working demeanor and passion for the game of volleyball. Not only did she want to become better every single day, but she was in rich favor of making her teammates better by pushing them to their max in practice so they could replicate their performance in their competitively matched games. One of those teammates happened to be Askren, who ended up playing indoor her first two years at Riverview before making the switch to strictly beach volleyball her junior and senior year. Friends forever, a trademark that describes the relationship between both these volleyball stars as they head down their respective paths.
While indoor volleyball came to an end earlier this school year, there is still massive hype surrounding the varsity baseball squad and their potential to become the next big program in the area. Davis, one of our starting outfielders, comments “Run your own race. Don’t compare your faults and successes to others. Stay true to your own path and success is inventible.” Furthermore, he states “Work hard day in and day out and expect nothing, the evidence of the work will manifest itself in everything you do.” Davis is an extremely self-motivated character that keeps in his own lane, with no need to make a U-turn, by letting his actions not words do the talking on the diamond as his grit and grind prove this rationale to the absolute fullest. Lastly, Griffith ponders his thoughts around signing day by feeling this occurrence for him was “a dream come true, but there is still work to do to improve,” as is the case with each of these student-athletes.