Congratulations to Sophie Whiteway '20 for her commitment to play lacrosse at the Division I level at Princeton University! Sophie joins classmates Francesca Cetta '20 and Jillian Johnson '20 as Division I bound athletes.
Before taking the field, Whiteway was a competitive gymnast. After winning the Maryland USAG State Meet, it was particularly difficult for her to walk away, but she knew she loved playing lacrosse and wanted to focus her attention on a new sport.
Whiteway knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue lacrosse at the Division I level. "My father was a DI collegiate athlete at the US Naval Academy and always encouraged me to excel in athletics, as he feels there are many benefits to playing sports in college," Whiteway shared.
Though the road to recruitment is always hard and usually rocky, Whiteway's journey became longer than expected. Beginning in eighth grade, Whiteway hit the ground running, working towards a likely DI commitment by the end of her freshman year. By that fall, she started to receive offers from a variety of DI schools. After taking visits, shadowing classes and meeting with coaches, Whiteway decided she wanted to wait until the end of the spring lacrosse season to make her decision. In April, the NCAA changed the recruiting rules, preventing any further contact with college coaches until September 1 of her junior year. This meant that not only could Whiteway not receive any additional offers, but she could not respond either.
While frustrating in some regards, this gave Whiteway more time to explore other programs and keep her options open. Once September 1 came, she received an overwhelming amount of interest and additional offers. After spending the month of September going on official and unofficial visits, she had narrowed down her top choices between Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Duke, and Cornell.
Ultimately on October 3, 2018, she chose Princeton because of its balance of high-level academics and athletics. "Coach Sailer, the Princeton women's lacrosse head coach, is really invested in her athletes. She encourages them to not only be the best on the field but also in the classroom and in life. I immediately felt a connection with her and the team and knew that I wanted to spend my four years of college at Princeton," Whiteway said.
Whiteway feels prepared to take on the challenges of being a student-athletes. She says, "The rigor of Holton academics and playing 12 seasons of varsity sports required me to focus on time management, organization, and communication with my teachers. Taking high-level courses pushed me to challenge myself, which is something I want to continue doing in college. As an athlete, Holton has allowed me to lead by example and push myself."
Whiteway is incredibly thankful for all the people who have helped her reach her goals.
"Throughout my life I have had so many great coaches that have challenged me to excel on the field. Most of all I would like to thank my family, in particular my mom for her endless support and the countless hours spent taking me from lacrosse practice, to tournaments, and camps all over the country. My family and friends have always supported me and encouraged me to stay humble and keep working hard, regardless of external factors."