Athletes at CHS use their summer in preparation for the transition from high school sports to more intense college competition

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For those moving on to college, the inevitable transition after graduation can present difficulties for nearly anybody. A brand new environment, raised expectations and sometimes even a slight feeling of ambivalence all define the challenges that are constantly endured by teenagers across the country. Add in an athletic commitment and this adjustment often has the potential to be monstrous. Bailey Padgett, Butler University tennis commit and senior, said she chose Butler because the atmosphere is comfortable and should help ease the switch to college life.

Bailey Padgett, Butler University tennis commit and senior, signs with Butler. She said she chose Butler because she thought the comfortable atmosphere would help ease her switch to college life. Bailey Padgett / submitted photo

“Butler obviously is very close, and my whole family has always been Butler fans for as long as I can remember. I know a lot of girls and guys on the team there, and the coach was definitely one of the biggest factors in why I chose to go there because she was very welcoming and I thought I could relate to her,” Padgett said.

Michael George, University of Dayton cross-country commit and senior, also said his comfort level with the team and school drove him to his decision.

“They are exactly like my team now, just goofing around and acting up and stuff but still pretty serious about school,” George said. “It was a good balance. There was no awkward moment. It was like, ‘If I come here I would fit perfectly’.”

Athletics director Jim Inskeep said committed student-athletes should start integrating a workout schedule with their respective collegiate programs over the summer. This will prepare them, he said, for the start of their seasons next year.

“After graduation, the college coach will start giving instructions as far as what to work on over the summer. Eventually these workouts will lead right into the start of each student-athlete’s season,” Inskeep said.

George confirmed Inskeep in that over the summer he is planning to practice with the cross-country team and also get in the weight room. He mentioned that in addition to this workout regimen, he thinks the general culture of CHS will reap benefits at the collegiate level.

“Every level you go you progress and it gets harder and more intense. But coming from Carmel which is obviously a really competitive school I don’t think the adjustment will be as erratic as if I had went to a really small school. So I think coming from Carmel it just really helps you prepare for a collegiate experience,” George said.

Padgett said she agrees with George in that CHS should help at the collegiate level, but still cited some significant differences. One of these, she said, is the fact that although academics is still number one, the motive behind attending the college is with the athletic program. Additionally, specifically for tennis, she said, the duration of the season is different as well.

“For college you are playing for a team the entire year compared to high school which is just one season in the spring,” Padgett said. “You’re also at that college because you play tennis so you are with the team a lot more and playing and working out a lot more.”

George simply said he still anticipates a substantial shift from high school to college.

“It’s definitely going to be a big adjustment,” George said.

Padgett said that, despite already having committed, there is still plenty of motivation for the high school season from both a team and individual perspective. Inskeep noted that securing a roster spot or scholarship in college is not the end goal for the majority of student-athletes. Padgett complied with this statement.

Bailey Padgett, Butler University tennis commit and senior, prepares to serve during a match against Park Tudor. Padgett said that despite already signing, she is motivated for her team this year in high school. ALLY RUSSELL / PHOTO

“This high school season it would be great to win State. I feel like we have a great chance again this year. Personally, I haven’t won a State individual title yet so that’s definitely something I would like to achieve. The main goal is just to do my best and be the best leader I can be on the team,” Padgett said.

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