For Wakefield’s committed athletes, college is only the beginning

Gaby Sciaudone and Seth Steiner

This winter, four hard-working athletes from Wakefield High School committed to compete in their sport at various colleges and universities. On their winter signing day, they all signed their National Letter of Intent, otherwise known as NLI. 

What exactly does it mean to commit? First, the student-athlete verbally agrees to play their sport in college, without being legally bound to do so. Later on, the student becomes eligible to sign an NLI, which promises that they will stop all communication with other college coaches. After signing that paper, the recruitment journey is completely done, which is incredibly exciting for the athletes since it means that the days of stressing over which college to pick are finally over. 

Senior Terra Schmitt has been a member of the Wakefield women’s varsity golf team since 2019 and is considered to be one of the best players in the conference. Recently, she committed to Barton College, a Division II level school.  

“I’ve played golf for my whole life, I enjoy playing, and I always wanted to play in college,” Schmitt said. 

Caroline Kozubowski, a North Wake College and Career Academy student, has been a member of Wakefield’s swim team for the past four years. Next year she will swim at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington,  where she hopes to improve both as a student and as an athlete. 

“I am incredibly excited to have specific training to open me up to new opportunities,” Kozubowski said. “The UNCW team has made great improvements since they received a new coaching staff and I’m thrilled to become a part of that.”

Senior Rose Sciaudone also plans to swim in college. She is committed to the University of North Carolina in Asheville, which, like UNCW, is a Division I level school. 

“I decided to commit to UNCA because it is a great school and everyone I met there was super nice,” Sciaudone said. “I am also excited to be able to continue swimming in college.”

Emma Hulicki, a member of the women’s tennis team, recently committed to Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC.

“I really liked the team dynamic that I saw when I went to their matches,” Hulicki said. “They are also the only school in North Carolina with a professional tennis management program and I didn’t want to leave the state for college.”

Although the sports programs played a big role in these seniors’ decision processes, the academics are also very much considered. 

“At [UNCA], I hope to get a bachelor’s degree in a math or science major,” Sciaudone said. “I hope that this will open opportunities for future jobs and internships.”

Now that these four are signed on, they have much to look forward to. They cannot wait to begin the next chapter of their academic and athletic lives. 

“The opportunities my parents have given me I will always be grateful for as they have put money and time not just into me but into the sport,” Kozubowski said. “My coaches have pushed me beyond my limits to get me where I am today and I truly could not have done it without them.”