And the Seniors Are Off!


These six BLS seniors will continue their journeys as student-athletes. (Source: Michael O’Reilly)

Every year, high school athletes have to decide whether they want to continue their sports careers after they graduate. This process is hard to navigate. When making their final decisions, athletes have to consider various factors, such as what school they want to play for, academic goals and whether they can balance both their major and the sport. This year, six Boston Latin School seniors have made this decision to continue their sports careers.

This process not only involves the athletes, but also their coaches and BLS athletics director Mr. Jack Owens, who provided student-athletes with insight about the steps and regulations of the recruiting process. 

Mr. Owens begins by inviting them to the “Playing Sports in College” panel. During this annual event, BLS invites recent graduates who are currently playing or have played sports in college. This allows the students to better understand what it is like to play a sport in college and whether that is the path they want to take. Mr. Owens states that his “role is to let the student’s play do the talking, [while he speaks] to the player’s character and leadership.”

Mr. Owens also helps educate students and coaches on the restrictions that come along with recruiting. A full list of regulations can be found online, but one of the most important rules is the window of time in which recruiters cannot talk to the athletes. The rule states that recruiters may not contact a student-athlete before June 15 of their sophomore year.

Guidance counselors also play a role in the decision process. Mr. Owens explains, “Student-athletes will talk about their desire to play sports but [utilize their guidance counselors to discuss] what level it takes, what kind of school they’re looking for and that drives the process to the major that they want to specialize in, location, etc.” Another resource is guidance counselor Ms. Elaine Sylvester, BLS’s National Collegiate Athletic Association liaison who helps students begin these conversations.

BLS baseball captain John Bijoy Hankwitz (I) is one student among many who will be playing sports in college. He first got interested in the sport after watching Red Sox games and playing catch with his dad, who had played baseball for 13 years. Hankwitz also played soccer, but he switched exclusively to baseball when he started high school. This switch allowed him to focus on baseball and hone his skills, ultimately attracting college scouts.

Hankwitz had a different experience than most when it came to scouting. He explains, “I waited for a school to approach me without reaching out to any schools myself. I was ready to give up baseball and focus on academic schools until February when I got my offer to play at Framingham State [University]. My Amateur Athletic Union coach reached out for me and I got in touch with the head coach [of the university] and went from there.”

Although his recruitment was unusual, Hankwitz is excited to play and looks forward to “a structured schedule and weight program that will give [him] skills for life beyond baseball.” He hopes to continue his career after college either in a professional league or recreationally.

Everyone’s path is different when choosing colleges. The extra challenge posed to student-athletes is greater as they need to consider more factors when deciding what path is best for them. BLS’s bountiful resources, however, have helped guide the six committed seniors through this process and will continue to do so in the future.