By Matt Hus & Lauren Parker
gameday & out-of-bounds
The graduating class has a variety of female athletes who plan to compete at the college level.
These committed students have worked hard throughout all four years of high school, hoping to one day play college sports. Despite the fact that female athletics are sometimes overlooked at the high school level, these athletes are finally getting the recognition they deserve from college scouts.
Shauna Stadelmaier is a senior at DHS who not only stood out to her high school coaches, but also to scouts at Michigan State University.
In 2002, Stadelmaier started the game of soccer with dreams that someday she could play in college. Next year, those dreams will come true. She’s had an exciting career at DHS and will continue it this spring. Stadelmaier will then attend MSU next fall as a member of the women’s soccer team.
Kate Pretty, a senior at DHS has been playing volleyball since eighth grade and has had an impressive career at DHS. This season, Pretty was named a member of the Midland Daily News Dream Team, and MVP of the Saginaw Valley League. As of November 14, Pretty will officially be a member of the Ferris State women’s volleyball team next fall.
Kelli Close, another DHS senior athlete, has been playing competitive tennis since age 9, winning states as a singles player on the DHS varsity team. Next fall, Close will attend Saginaw Valley State University as a member of the women’s tennis program.
The future seems bright for these female athletes, but that did not come without hard work.
“During my sophomore and junior years, I always thought of playing college soccer,” Stadelmaier said. “Every time I didn’t feel like working out, I just thought there was probably someone out there just like me, running that extra sprint, working harder than I was.”
Pretty will start practicing with her new team even before the year is over.
“I’m really nervous to start practicing with them. I think my hard work throughout the travel season will help, but it will still be hard,” Pretty said.
Close believes she has been well prepared for what lies ahead.
“I think it will be a lot of work making the jump from high school to college tennis,” Close said. “I’ll be required to do more, but I think my coaches have prepared me well.”
Feeling prepared because of prior coaching is a common trend among these future college athletes.
“I think it will be really hard to transition to college athletics, especially this summer when I have to start training, but I’ve been playing travel soccer for a long time,” Stadelmaier said. “I’ve had really good coaching so I think that will help make the transition easier.”
Stadelmaier has found that the transition from high school to college sports was an easy process. She’s experienced college level play and coaches in the middle of her soccer career.
“Sophomore year I started going to college showcases and emailing coaches,” she said. “I talked to college coaches through both my high school and travel. When I visited MSU and met the team I felt really good about it, I knew I could play with them.”
Close had a slightly more stressful experience.
“The process wasn’t bad at first, but as my signing date came close and I still didn’t know for sure where I was going and I was a little stressed,” Close said. “Now that it’s over, I’m really relieved.”
Pretty also felt some stress and anxiety “Since my dad works at Northwood and they’re rivals with Ferris, there was some tension when
I was making my decision, but now that it’s over he fully supports me,” Pretty said.
Although they are some of the top female athletes at DHS, the girls don’t seem to feel much pressure.
“The only pressure I face now in high school is the pressure I put on myself,” Stadelmaier said. “I want to keep my good grades and challenge myself.”
Close feels the same way and is now calmer that her signing process is over.
“I really don’t feel like I face pressure to perform in high school, I don’t need to impress anyone anymore, now I can just go out and play without worrying,” Close said.
The girls have a lot to look forward to and are excited to continue playing their sports.
“It’s so normal for me to continue playing. It’s weird to think that people are going to stop playing sports. I wouldn’t be able to,” Pretty said.
Despite the pressure they may feel their love for their sports is what fuels this excitement.
“I’m looking forward to still being able to play the sport I love,” Close said.
Stadelmaier has a similar opinion to Close.
“I love knowing that this year isn’t the end of my career as an athlete. I love soccer and it would be hard to imagine my life without it,” Stadelmaier said. “All the hard work was worth it, I can’t wait to play college soccer.”