Three seniors make athletic collegiate commitments

Tal Arber, Reporter

Next year, three students from the class of 2021 will continue their athletic careers as collegiate athletes. Through hard work and dedication, the students have been able to pursue their goal of competing at the next level.

One of the three athletes, senior Ariel Gershman, committed to Dickinson College the moment the head coach offered him a spot on the basketball team over the phone in November.

“It felt good that I have put a lot of hours into my game, so to finally accomplish something I worked really hard for felt really good,” Gershman said. “I’m just really excited to have four more years to play.”

Boys varsity basketball team Head Coach David McCloud guided Gershman throughout the recruiting process. Since McCloud played college basketball himself, he could relate to the experience of an athlete like Gershman.

“I advise my athletes on things to look for in colleges and how to make a good decision with the school they want to play at,” McCloud said. “I also help them understand and follow NCAA recruitment guidelines to make sure they are eligible to play. It’s more of an adviser role than a coaching role.”

In the past nine years, McCloud has coached and developed six players from his basketball team to become college athletes. This year, in addition to Gershman, seniors Jake Rulnick and Tyler Farkas are also potentially going to play basketball in college, and McCloud is excited to watch them grow into more developed basketball players. He hopes they utilize their hard work and the skills he taught them to be successful on the collegiate level.

The basketball team is not the only CESJDS team to have an athlete move on to the college level. On Nov. 24, senior Nate Heller committed to play baseball at Rhodes College. He will enter as a starting pitcher in the team’s pitching rotation. Heller has been playing baseball for 11 years but started taking it more seriously in high school.

“I’ve been preparing to play in college since I was 15,” Heller said. “That was the age when I really started to spend a lot of time in the gym and on the field, and working as hard as I can so that I can be competitive at the next level.”

The average week for Heller includes six days at the gym and throwing a baseball every day. In addition to his work ethic, Heller attributes his success to the JDS coaches who prepared him for the opportunity to play college baseball.

“Coach Forestieri and Coach West[erman] always believed in me and knew I could be a good player,” Heller said. “The support of these coaches really pushed me to become the player I am today.”

The varsity girls soccer team also had an athlete recruited: senior Abby Alter, who committed to Bates College in early August after playing on the JDS girls soccer team in both middle and high school. Alter said that Lions soccer has played a significant role in who she has become as an athlete, as did her family and travel team.

“From a young age my dad has definitely played a big role in the athlete I’ve become today, but also the coaches at JDS and Arlington Soccer Association have allowed me to become a better player and follow my dreams of becoming a collegiate athlete,” Alter said.

Throughout this experience, Alter learned that her own actions determined the difficulty of the recruiting process. In order to make everything go smoothly, it was key for her to prioritize which coaches to contact and devise a clear plan for how to gain collegiate exposure.

As Alter embarks on a new step in her athletic career, she is grateful to everyone at JDS who helped her along the way, and is determined to succeed in college by implementing the skills JDS has taught her.

“While I start this next chapter in my life, I recognize the amazing things JDS did for me both academically and athletically. I just hope that I can make everyone at JDS proud by excelling in all my goals just like they always taught me to do,” Alter said.