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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

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How sports scholarships transform lives

A close game between Redwood Boys Lacrosse and Mater Dei. Photo Courtesy of Blake Atkins and Mark Holmstrom

Nothing fuels a high school athlete’s desire for success like the possibility of earning a college scholarship. Many student-athletes work their entire life through sports and academics as a gateway to their future. Sports-issued scholarships supply teams with countless eager student-athletes, willing to work and succeed. This gives opportunities to athletes by providing them with a pass that does not involve a possible financial burden, like in the form of a scholarship. Senior, Kate Sicklick is a varsity volleyball player who has recently received a scholarship to Denison as a Division three (D3) athlete. D3 students do not receive a scholarship solely for athletic abilities, but in addition to academics. In Sicklick’s case, she received money due to her athletic accomplishments. 

“[Each school] said if you apply early decision they [can] offer you aid in the form of money when you come to the school. I had zero idea I was getting any money until after I verbally committed,” Sicklick said.

Kate Sicklick leads Redwood Girls’ Varsity Volleyball in an intense match.

Sicklick explains how her role is slightly different as a D3 athlete compared to a D1.

“With D3s, you can’t give athletic scholarships like D1s. [Instead] they give you an academic scholarship. I get a certain amount of money to go to the school but it keeps me at the school because I get the same amount of money year after year. It’s the Athletic Department’s way of maintaining you on their team,” Sicklick said. 

The money Kate and countless other D3 athletes receive rewards them for their athletic achievements and provides them with funding to pursue their academics. 

Blake Atkins, the boy’s varsity lacrosse coach, gave insight into how recruitment works for lacrosse players in search of a scholarship. Atkins has been coaching at Redwood for 11 years. He started as an assistant coach his first year but quickly moved to head coach back in 2015.

“The guys that are interested in playing in college do play for club teams. A lot of the heavy lifting is done by the club teams because they are back there with the kids over the summer, and they’re talking directly with the college coaches,” Atkins said.

Atkins has a limited role in not being the main figure in his player’s process for scholarships.

“A lot of our guys, especially in recent years, do a great job on their self-advocating so it’s kind of nice because my role is minimal,” Atkins said.

Atkins touches on how his job is eased by this efficient process and how his players have done a good job setting themselves up for success. 

“The college coach, if they need something from me, will call me but our players tend to do a lot of stuff on their own. So it is more about the guidance at this point. Letting them know what their process should be and what they need to prepare to be recruited,” Atkins said.

Atkins speaks about this year, as there are the most recruits he has ever seen on a roster.

Sports scholarships infographic by Lily Bell

“We usually have a handful of guys every year going to college [with a scholarship]. This year we’ve got six guys who are going to be playing next year,” Atkins said.

He expresses his pride and the change since he first arrived at Redwood in recruitment status.  

“We have kind of ramped up every year since I’ve been [at Redwood]. No recruits really in the earlier days. We had one or two guys my first two years,” Atkins said. 

While Atkins gives his insight as a coach and what he sees through the eyes of his players, Becky Bjursten, a college and career counselor, introduces what she sees in her job with sports and academic scholarships among her students.


“Every student applies for a scholarship because there are two types of scholarships. Merit scholarships are based on grades, skills and extracurriculars. Other scholarships are based on financial need,” Bjursten said.  

Bjursten shares the differences between sports scholarships and merit scholarships. 

“Sports scholarships, however, are granted on athletic performance and offer athletes aid to play at a certain college for their sport. If a student stops playing their sport, they will still be on scholarship,” Bjursten said.   

Bjursten reflects on how scholarships benefit countless teens. It keeps them out of potential debt from student loans and gives them gratification and hope. The current impressive amount of student scholarships received at Redwood this year has spiked ambitions and has given aspirations that their goals might be possible as well. Scholarships are vital and play a large role in the feeding of certain students with preferred talents and abilities into their suitable schools that can help them excel in their life and profession. Colleges are all about preparing their students for the real world and life on their own. Scholarships are essential to set one down the right path for success.

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About the Contributors
Lily Bell is a sophomore at Redwood and a Cub reporter for the Bark. She enjoys going to the beach, playing volleyball, and hanging out with friends.
Elena Dillon
Elena Dillon, cub reporter
Elena Dillon is a sophomore at Redwood High School in nonfiction. She enjoys going to the beach and hanging out with friends.