Blueprint

Seniors further their athletic careers with college commitments

Jaye Thomas '18 and Ezra Weber '18

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Andrew Akindele ‘18

A member of the Chicago Fire Academy since he was 12 years old, Andrew Akindele ‘18  verbally committed to play Division 1 soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the summer of 2017. Although he had previously talked to Yale University, University of Kentucky, and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Akindele felt most comfortable at Madison, having already established a relationship with the coach.

“On a visit, I decided that it was the best school for me and my family,” said Akindele.

Akindele will be joining two of his former teammates in Madison and hopes to lead the team in getting another Big 10 championship title. The forward hopes that Madison won’t be his last stop for soccer, aiming to come back and play professional soccer for the Chicago Fire or go to Europe and pursue a professional career.

 

Anna Bianchi ‘18

Anna Bianchi ‘18, shooting guard and small forward for the Lady Eagles’ basketball team, will attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville come fall 2018.

“I’ve been playing basketball since I was four, and it’s really nice that it’s not going to end yet,” said Bianchi.

She was sold to  by the immediate bond that she felt with her new teammates and because of the support she received by the coaching staff.

“I could tell their interest level was high, they wanted to make me a part of their family,” said Bianchi.

With the opportunity to have a starting role on the team by her sophomore year, Bianchi hopes to have a quick impact for the Division 3 Pioneers.

 

David Calloway ‘18

Guard David Calloway ‘18 has committed to play for Bradley University’s division one men’s basketball program with the help of his uncle. Having gone much of his senior year without so much as a look from any college programs, Calloway was faced with the possibility of leaving basketball behind.

“People had told me about offers they had gotten sophomore year. I was a senior playing my last year without any offers,” said Calloway. “I struggled with it because [basketball] is something I’ve done for my whole life.”

His uncle, Willie Scott, who had played as a point guard for Bradley in the 1980s, was the spark that started the school’s interest in Calloway. Unlike the average recruitment process when a school expresses interest in an athlete, Scott helped Calloway get in contact with the team’s coach, Brian Wardle.

Having also received an offer from Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, Calloway favored Bradley because of its stronger academic rigor and more competitive basketball program.

 

Stephen Egresits ‘18

This past December, Stephen Egresits ‘18 decided to take his talents to play basketball at Washington University in St. Louis. He will elongate his basketball career for another four years at the rigorous research institution on an academic scholarship. After visiting and learning about WashU’s Division 3 team, he is excited about immersing himself in the new atmosphere of the school.

“I really like the players [and] the coaching [staff are] great. It seemed like I’d fit in really well,” said Egresits.

WashU was last year’s number one seeded team in the division, and Egresits hopes that he will contribute to the team’s continuing success.

“I’m basically trying to turn it around,” said Egresits. “I’m trying to bring them up a couple of division levels,” said Egresits.

The 12 year basketball veteran played for the Jones basketball team along with the club team Fundamental U. He also hopes to play basketball past his time at WashU, dreaming of playing basketball in Europe after college.

 

Jill Kavalauskas ‘18

After ten seasons of the sport, Jill Kavalauskas ‘18 committed to play Division 1 volleyball at Southern Illinois University on April 2. During her tenure as the Jones varsity captain, Kavalauskas led the team to city and regional titles. In addition to SIU, many universities, such as DePaul University, Xavier University, and other Division 2 and 3 schools, looked at Kavalauskas during her college selection process.

Kavalauskas started her career by playing club volleyball for Chicago Elite and for the Jones varsity year all four years of high school. This experience has prepared her to perform at a higher level in the fall.

“It’s extremely competitive. I hope to lead my team to win the conference and I want to make the NCAA playoffs,” said Kavalauskas.

 

Audrey McMahon ‘18

After playing the sport for 13 years, Audrey McMahon ‘18 committed to play Division 3 hockey at Wesleyan University earlier this school year. Wesleyan wasn’t the only school that the defenseman was considering, as other schools in the same athletic league, such as Middlebury College and Williams College, also expressed interest in her. However, McMahon was impressed by the experience of the Wesleyan coaching staff, with their current head coach being the former assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic team in 2008.

McMahon said that she is excited to see that the team is heading in a new direction in the fall.

“They’re in the middle of a rebuild right now, [and] I thought that it would be really fun to be a part of that,” said McMahon.

McMahon started her hockey career playing for the Saddle and Cycle Club. She has since been playing for the competitive Chicago Young Americans team. While she is excited to keep  playing the sport she loves for another four years, McMahon doesn’t think that her hockey career will continue beyond college.

 

Cristian Reyes ‘18

After four years of running in high school, Cristian Reyes ‘18 has committed to be a Division 3 runner at Lake Forest College. After filling out a profile on the NCAA’s recruiting website and getting in touch with coaches, Reyes chose Lake Forest College over Beloit College, North Central College, and Earlham College due to its proximity to home, generous financial package, and ideal academic opportunities.

Because all of his options were very similar, the decision was tough for Reyes. What set Lake Forest apart from the others was the sense of camaraderie Reyes felt on his overnight visit. He felt no sense of urgency or forcefulness from the representatives of the team, instead he was simply shown what they had to offer.

“They [made me] feel like family already even though [I’m] not even a student there yet,” said Reyes.

Reyes is likely to make an impact on the team right away, and as a freshman he could join the varsity squad as a scoring runner for distance races right off the bat.

 

Alyssa Streeter ‘18

After considering not playing basketball in college due to her desire to pursue a career in physical therapy, Alyssa Streeter ‘18 received an offer to play for the University of Saint Francis midway through the season. Other offers soon followed, and it was then that Lewis University came knocking at her door.

They gave Streeter an offer she simply couldn’t refuse. Her desire to become a physical therapist, part of the reason why she was considering ending her basketball career, could become a reality at Lewis. By continuing her career there, she would not have to choose between her division two career and her passion.

“They offered me both [basketball and physical therapy, and] I knew I would have that balance,” said Streeter.

After entirely revamping their program and taking their 24-8 record to the Division 2 women’s basketball March Madness tournament last year, Lewis University is on the rise, and Streeter is ready to join the team and continue its growth.

 

Mariella Szrom ‘18

After looking at Oberlin College and Macalester College, Kavalauskas’ fellow teammate  Mariella Szrom ‘18 committed to play Division 3 volleyball for Wilmington College in July 2017. Szrom says that she is excited to elongate her volleyball career in a place that will also accommodate her professional aspirations of being a physical therapist. She will pursue a program at the college that will allow her to get a master’s degree in physical therapy after five  years. With her career spanning from courts of the Chicago Elite club team to being on the Jones varsity volleyball team for all four years of high school, the five foot ten middle blocker says that she is excited to kick off her first season in Ohio after nine years of playing in Chicago.

“I met a few of the girls before,” said Szrom. “They seemed very welcoming and accepting.”

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