College Commits’ Journeys

in Features/Sports by

The Wesleyan athletics program has been extremely successful with sending high school students to play at the collegiate level. With the help of families and coaches, the end of their journey marks their final decision, “Where do I see myself next?” Here are the following highlighted students: Lucy Mitchell, Reece Holbrook and Druw Jones, each with their own unique journey.

Lucy Mitchell:

From the first step on Notre Dame’s main campus to the women’s soccer field, senior Lucy Mitchell, felt most at home in South Bend, Indiana. Her commitment process was made easier because she loved the overall culture that Notre Dame offered. With senior year flying by, she is extremely excited for this last season with the Lady Wolves’ soccer team and what the futures holds for her at Notre Dame next fall.

How long have you been playing soccer?

“Since I was probably three or four, as long as I can remember.”

When did you realize you wanted to play in college?

“It has always been a dream of mine to play in college, but probably when I was 13 or so, I realized it was actually a possibility.”

Did you receive any other offers other than Notre Dame?

“Yes, Duke, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt and Clemson.”

What made you choose Notre Dame?

“When I stepped onto campus it really felt like home, and the culture and vibe overall just was really compelling to me and made it a school I really wanted to go to.”

Other than the soccer side, what is your favorite thing about Notre Dame?

“Probably the team culture. They are really focused on having a servant heart, and because they are a religious school, they share the same values as my own.”

Who was your biggest influencer/supporter throughout this decision?

“My dad is really invested in my soccer these days, and I feel like your parents always help influence your decision. He really helped guide me through the process and helped weigh my options.”

What are some struggles you’ve experienced throughout this journey?

“It is for sure stressful making this decision at such a young age. Honestly, just making the decision in the end was stressful but I couldn’t be happier about it.”

What do you hope to get out of Notre Dame?

“I want to obviously further my education and get a degree but [for] soccer, I want to use it as a catalyst to the next chapter of my soccer career to play overseas or on the national team.”

Lastly, what are some goals you are going to set for this season for the Wolves?

“To win state.”

Reece Holbrook:

University of Virginia stood out to junior Reece Holbrook, mostly because of the people and relationships she built with the UVA coaches. Even though it was a distance from her parents, the college town of Charlottesville, VA made her feel most at home. Holbrook’s commitment process began at a young age, but with the help of her family and her own heart, she was able to make the best decision. As her future awaits her at UVA in the fall of 2021, she is looking forward to growing in her faith and as person, but as for now, she is excited with the progress of the Lady Wolves on the softball field.

How long have you been playing softball?

“I have been playing softball since I was five years old.”

When did you realize you wanted to play in college?

“I decided I wanted to take it to a collegiate level when I was 10 years old.”

Did you receive any other offers other than University of Virginia (UVA)?

“Yes, I did.”

What made you choose UVA?

“I chose UVA because of the culture that I found there and my relationships with the coaches. I liked the atmosphere and the level of academics.”

Other than the softball side, what is your favorite thing about UVA?

“My favorite thing is the town of Charlottesville and the people in the town.”

Who was your biggest influencer/supporter throughout this decision?

“My parents, but they didn’t push me. They let me make my decision on my own. God also helped me with the decision.”

What are some struggles you’ve experienced throughout this journey?

“With UVA, I loved the school, but I didn’t like how far it was from home. What helped with that was my relationship with the coaches. I felt at home with them.”

What do you hope to get out of UVA?

“Just to become a better person, grow in my faith, and just grow in my love for softball and people.”

Lastly, what are some goals you set for this season for the Wolves?

“I definitely want to win state and to be consistent with my hitting. And with the team, I hope to pick each other up.”

Druw Jones:

Committing as a sophomore to play baseball for Vanderbilt, winner of two National titles and nine Regional titles, is an accomplishment. Druw Jones’ love and talent for this sport is what made the #1 NCAA baseball team recruit him. Jones received many other offers, but with the help of his teammates and family, he picked Vanderbilt at the end of his decision process. Why exactly did he choose the Commodores, and what did his journey look like to get him here?

How long have you been playing baseball?

“I started playing around three years old, and I [have been playing] since.”

Who is your favorite baseball player of all time?

“Derek Jeter [is my favorite] because he’s a great player and has a great character outside of baseball too, so I have something to follow by.”

When did you realize you wanted to play in college?

“It started [at the end of] seventh grade year, going into eighth grade. I realized I could really go to college for baseball.”

Did you receive any other offers other than Vanderbilt?

“Yes, I had an offer from Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama and I talked to Miami.”

What made you choose Vanderbilt?

“It’s a great school, with a great coaching staff because they focus on family and things outside of baseball too.”

Did your dad help you with this decision?

“No, he didn’t want me to commit to college that early.”

Other than the baseball side, what is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

“It’s a good academic school, and I can get a degree after college.”

Did you think you will even play in college or go straight to the draft?

“I want to go straight to the draft, and that’s my dream. If I get a good enough draft spot, then most definitely. If it doesn’t really pan out like I want it to, then I can go to college.”

Who was your biggest influencer/supporter throughout this decision?

“My mom and some of my teammates from travel baseball.”

Why do you consider your mom one of your biggest influencers?

“She always supports me and wants what is best for me, so she was with the decision 100 % of the way.”

What are some struggles you’ve experienced throughout this journey?

“Baseball is a sport of failure, so you fail a lot, some injuries but nothing too much.”

What kept you pushing throughout those struggles?

“Perseverance [kept me going]. I just always wanted to keep going and strive for the best.  I want to encourage more people to play hard and keep going at it.”

What do you hope to get out of Vanderbilt?

“[I hope to get] more development for baseball and more strength, and they have a good coaching staff so some life lessons.”

Lastly, what are some goals you are setting for this upcoming season for the Wolves?

“Just be a good teammate, help everyone out, and try to beat records for the school and for Gwinnett County.”

Coach Brian Krehmeyer:

Varsity baseball coach Brian Krehmeyer stated it best when asked about Druw Jones, “He gets excited when [his teammates] have success.” Jones’ humility and compassion for others is what makes him stand out, not only as a player who enjoys the game, but a player who enjoys who he’s with. Jones’ confidence has poured into the people around him including Krehmeyer, and he’s excited to see what the futures hold for Jones at Vanderbilt. “We’ve had a lot of successful baseball players come through here. He’s not the only pro prospect we’ve had; he’s just simply the next one,” said Krehmeyer.

What is it like to coach a player like Druw Jones?

“Well Druw is an outstanding talent, but more than just being talented, he’s also a lot fun to be around. He has a happy-go-lucky disposition, he loves being around his teammates, he gets excited when they have success, so all in all, he’s a joy and pleasure to coach.”

From a coach’s perspective, what is your favorite quality about Druw?

“I love how Druw does not get swallowed up in the moment. He has such confidence in his ability that no situation is ever too stressful for him, so he just seems to always enjoy playing the game.”

How has Druw helped the team on and off the field?

“Having a player of his ability encourages and drives his teammates to perform at their highest levels, day in and day, out in practice and in games. It also takes the pressure off his teammates that they don’t have to be anything more than what they are capable of being for the team to be successful.”

How has Druw helped you grow and learn as a coach?

“From seeing Druw’s confidence, he has instilled confidence in me, that no one at bat, no one play is going to make or break our team or the success we can have in a season. I think that ultimately, enjoying what you’re doing, enjoying who you are around, will drive the team to success. Druw enjoys playing baseball and being around his teammates, so that defines a successful season.”

What are your hopes for him at Vanderbilt?

“When your job becomes baseball, you lose some of the joy you experienced as kid. I hope that he continues to enjoy playing the game of baseball.”

What are your goals for this season with the Wolves?

“Expectations are certainly high coming off of last season’s success having so many returning players. My challenge as a head coach is to manage those expectations and to make sure we get better with each practice and with each game. I’ve coached long enough to know that the most talented teams are not always the most successful teams. It really takes teams that enjoy being around each other and want to extend their season as long as they can to win a championship.”

How do you want Druw to remember you and this program?

“I want Druw to remember his time playing for Wesleyan as time well spent, as time he was cared for, loved and appreciated not only by his teammates but also by his coaching staff.”

With the help of family, teammates and coaches, these three commits have their hearts set on their sport and are eager to pursue their dream of playing at a college level.

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