Prep Sports

City High athletes dealing with recruiting in COVID season

HS journalism: Some ready to go, other waiting for best option

Iowa City High junior Evion Richardson winds up to shoot in a game against Dubuque Hempstead. (Madelyn Hellwig/City High
Iowa City High junior Evion Richardson winds up to shoot in a game against Dubuque Hempstead. (Madelyn Hellwig/City High)
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IOWA CITY — While COVID-19 has made the college recruitment process more difficult for some athletes, City High senior Mia Deprenger is not one who suffered.

Deprenger has been committed to Minnesota State University to play NCAA Division II soccer since her freshman year of high school.

“My sister actually goes there to play soccer so I was introduced to the team really early on, and I saw the field, the campus, met coaching staff and it just felt like the right place for me to go to,” Deprenger said.

The NCAA recently voted to move the college recruitment dead period to April of 2021. This can put extra stress on student-athletes looking to get recruited because the dead period is when college coaches are not permitted to have face-to-face contact with prospects and cannot watch them compete or visit their high schools.

“It’s stressful for other people so like I’m glad that I got it out of the way,” Deprenger said. “They can’t really go and see the campus, talk the team, so it’s kind of hard to make a decision without really knowing exactly what you’re getting into.”

When asked what she was most excited about Deprenger said, “I love the team atmosphere there and it’s really fun to be around them because there’s like 30 games per season and everyone likes everyone no matter what age or grade they’re in.”

EVION RICHARDSON

Junior Evion Richardson was offered an opportunity to play basketball at the University of Nebraska-Omaha during COVID-19 by a scout who watched several virtual games from past years.

The coach contacted one of her AAU coaches for her information and began reaching out.

“It’s really hard for a coach to sit there and watch on the screen without actually being there because the environment is totally different and when I was talking to the college coaches he said it was kind of boring, just sitting there watching like 10 games online,” Richardson said.

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When asked why she wants to play at Omaha, Richarson said, “I just like the environment because everybody gets treated like a family. Before I even committed they already treated me like I was a family so I just like that type of bond and know that it’s a good place.”

Richardson has played varsity basketball for City High since her freshman year and has always wanted to play in college.

“I’ve always known since I was little that I love this sport and have always wanted to play and now I love the sport so much that I don’t want to stop playing it,” Richardson said.

Growing up, Richardson felt inspired by many different people, including WNBA players Skylar Diggins and Tia Cooper, as well as many of her high school teammates and competition.

She hopes to someday play at the elite level.

“(My family) is very happy, all their sacrifices to stuff they’ve done for me has paid off and they want to see me do great in college and probably hope to get to elite,” Richardson said.

Richardson plans to reach her goals by putting in lots of hours in the gym, eating right and working hard in the classroom to get good grades.

“I love basketball so much and I just want to succeed in it. So I really hope all my hard work can go toward me getting drafted,” she said.

RAPHAEL HAMILTON

Senior Raphael Hamilton first reached out to Mary University in Bismarck, N.D., to play NCAA Division II football during his sophomore year.

He sent film his junior year and began to contact coaches.

“It felt like a really good fit and the coaching staff really felt like they really cared about me,” Hamilton said.

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He committed to Mary University in August of 2020, but recently took his official to get a more in depth look of the university’s program and speak with academic advisers.

“It really reassured me and I feel like I have a really good relationship with the coaches there and that’s kind of a big thing,” he said. “I feel like the coaches there really care about me, not just for my playing abilities, but as a person.”

This year has been a bit different for football. The Little Hawks missed around three weeks of their season, limiting the amount of film available for college recruiters.

“I mean like in football it’s especially important to have film out there for coaches to evaluate,” Hamilton said. “For guys at City High, we were able to get at least some film out, probably not as many games as we would have wanted but I still think it’s helpful.”

Hamilton looks forward to exploring a new community, developing new friendships, being a role model for aspiring college athletes and the community service work the University Of Mary offers.

“There’s a lot of different opportunities that come with playing football in college,” he said. “I want to be a leader among my teammates and look forward to developing friendships that I think will last a lifetime.”

PARKER MAX

Junior Parker Max is an athlete looking to pursue college sports.

He plans to run cross country in college, but still is undecided where that will be. This year, Max ran at the state cross country meet, placing eighth in Class 4A.

“I just love running itself and so I think that cross country is a sport where anybody can run in college, so I might as well take advantage of that,” Max said.

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Most of the colleges Max is looking into are not allowing in person visits, however. Max has started to contact several Division III coaches.

“It’s kind of stressful to think about where to go to college when you can’t really visit the college,” he said. “So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do some visits over the summer when hopefully it’ll be not so bad.”

Max looks forward to the higher intensity of college running.

“Both my parents ran in college and my brother’s running in college now,” he said. “In high school, there aren’t as many runners on the team that take it super seriously and in college the team is definitely very focused and everybody is there because they love to run, so I just think that there would be more of a team bond, which would be really fun to be a part of.”

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