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Keeping the athletic dream alive

Many local athletes pursuing college sports careers

In my time at the paper, I have seen many local high school athletes take their talents to the college ranks.

There have been football players to runners, as well as baseball pitchers to basketball stars and just about every sport in between. Some have received scholarships, while others walked on and enjoyed impressive careers.

It is quite impressive that this little area in one of the smallest states in the country has produced such high level athletes. I guess it is a true testament to the work ethic and drive that people in small towns have.

You may have noticed my story on Tuesday about 2012 Wilton-Lyndeborough graduate Tony Graziano and his decision to pitch at Franklin Pierce University next spring, something he has dreamed about since he began playing baseball. Today’s paper features an article about Lauren Mackey, a recent ConVal graduate who will play both softball and field hockey at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Both are part of a new series I am working on about local high school athletes who are making the jump to the next level — hence its title.

Over the course of the summer, I will be telling the stories of recent graduates who have earned the right to be called college athletes. Some have spent their entire lives working toward making it to the collegiate ranks, while others did not realize their passion for athletics until the window on their careers slowly started to close.

For most high school athletes, sports are such a big part of their lives that it is not until their playing days are over that they truly appreciate just how much that time in their life meant.

I played sports when I was younger, but will admit I am much better at watching and reporting on them than I ever was competing. But I also never really put the time and effort in that I now realize it takes to compete at a high level. And to be honest, I am left with some regrets. As someone who watches high school sports for a living, there are many times I wish I could go back and tell my younger self what to do. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And that is probably why I marvel at a lot of these local athletes. The work ethic and commitment they put in on a day-to-day basis is the reason why they are so successful when I and the general public see them compete.

When I first thought of this series idea, I came up with a list of names that I had either heard through the grapevine or confirmed with them, a coach or a family member that they would be moving on to college.

During the school year, I did write stories about ConVal’s Taylor Doyle and Maxine Dunn, as well as Conant’s Kelsey Smith. Doyle will be pitching for Division II Delta State next year, while Smith will be doing the same for the Bentley University softball team. Dunn is playing field hockey for D-III Hartwick College in the fall.

And while I feel like I have my hand on the pulse of the local sports community, I’m sure there are some college bound athletes that I just don’t know about.

So that is where you come in. If you know of somebody who will be heading off to college for athletics next year, send me an email at tgoodwin@ledgertranscript.com or give me a call at 924-7172 ext. 226.

I want to make sure I cover all the bases and give each athlete their just due. It is quite an accomplishment and deserves to be highlighted.

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