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More than 60 former Sailors currently play at college level

Megan Swanker, Sports Editor

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To most high school athletes, playing college or even professional sports is the ultimate dream. To the 61 former Shores athletes currently playing a collegiate sport, that dream has been fulfilled.

“Seeing over 60 former Sailors competing in athletics at the college level brings me great joy,” athletic director Ryan Portenga said. “Such a number validates the athletes’ determination and commitment to their craft. It also says a lot about our coaches, teachers, counselors, and parents – who all had a hand in connecting the dots for each young man and woman. We’re very proud of each athlete.”

While the sport itself doesn’t change from high school to college, the level of commitment does.

“There’s a big difference (between high school and college. There are) a lot more meetings and preparation than high school (sports),” said DeOntay Moffett, a 2015 graduate who plays football at Wayne State University. “Earning play time is the same on both levels. Nothing is given to you, so you have to earn it.”

Another difference is the coaching. For college coaches, the sport is a full-time job which allows them more time to focus on the intricacies of the sport.

“(The) main difference about coaches in college is that they take this very serious,” said Darece Roberson, a 2016 Shores graduate who plays football at Wayne State. “There is more teaching and learning new techniques.”

In order to play a college sport, one must be able to juggle the needs of both, their academics and athletics. Time management is key to success and also learning to prioritize.

“I put my education first,” Moffett said, “and my athletics second because athletics only last so long. You need an education for the future of your life with whatever career you want to go in.”

Portenga, who played one year of football at Albion College, said high school athletes need to understand that college sports can be challenging.

“In order to play college sports, one has to physically be capable of doing so,” he said. “That’s where it starts. However, to remain a part of a college program, the athlete must be able to handle a college academic workload and social life, navigate the early morning and offseason workouts, and shed whatever ego that they might have – considering the fact that they might no longer be the best player on the team. That’s not all it takes to become a college athlete, but those three huge issues one must understand and balance.”

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More than 60 former Sailors currently play at college level