The Student News Site of Center Grove High School

Trojaneer

The Student News Site of Center Grove High School

Trojaneer

The Student News Site of Center Grove High School

Trojaneer

The Next Step

Focus, drive remain even after student athletes commit to college
The+Next+Step
Ethan Gable

It is just a “routine” throw outside the sticks. A “routine” free kick past a wall of five fear-stricken high school athletes. A “routine” spike past two 6’ 3” volleyball players, extending their arms to do whatever they can to stop the ball. 

But there’s nothing routine about skill in sports, especially not with players like junior Reese Dunkle, who committed to Northwestern University this summer to continue her volleyball career.

Dunkle, the No. 27 nationally-ranked volleyball player in her class, made the all-county team in her sophomore year with 134 blocks and 275 kills. Her on-field success, however, did not ease the stress on her shoulders before her commitment.

“I’m really excited and relieved because college was a big stress,” Dunkle said. “I was down to two Big Ten schools, but ultimately, education is a big thing for me, and I don’t think I could turn down a Northwestern education.”

Senior Ely Detty, who committed to No. 3 ranked Kentucky, started playing his sport, soccer, at the age of five, when he transitioned from gymnastics to soccer because of his sister’s influence.

“At probably like four or five years old, I played recreational soccer for five years,” Detty said. “I didn’t start [academy] soccer for at least five years, so when I was like nine or ten. I played at SCSA until U14. Then my U15 year, we started Alliance, and whenever quarantine hit, my club coach told me and another player to go to Indianapolis Fire or FC Pride because I would get better looks for college.”

In the case of club soccer, the professional environment attracted more college scouts to Detty than the high school season.

“In high school, you don’t really get recruited for soccer,” Detty said. “[My club] Indy Fire is a lot more known across the whole nation, we go to better tournaments and we’re in a better league, so that just helped me in getting recruited and colleges looking at me.”

In his sophomore year of club soccer, Detty posted 19 goals and 14 assists – a feat he attributes to the confidence he gained during that year’s high school season. 

“Scoring 17 goals [in my sophomore high school season] kind of brought more confidence into my club [season], because in my opinion soccer is all about your confidence and how your mental game is,” Detty said. “I think having that breakthrough season my sophomore year really helped me play a lot better in my club for my sophomore year.”

Consistent play can also lead to scouts noticing, as was the case with senior quarterback Tyler Cherry, who led the Trojans’ football team to a third consecutive state title last year.

“We had a great season up to [the State Championship game] and I think going into that game we all just needed to be super confident and enjoy the game,” Cherry said. “I think I really didn’t have any recruitment until after the season going into my senior year, but it kind of took off from there.”

Some might argue that a college commitment can lead to complacency and a lack of willingness to work hard for the high school team. For Dunkle, that didn’t happen.

“I think being committed allows me to play with more confidence, especially because now when I walk onto the court, people know where I’m going, and I don’t want to give people the satisfaction of seeing me struggle or thinking ‘How’s she going there?’” Dunkle said. “So it’s kind of made me feel like I do have this pressure on my shoulders to keep Northwestern’s reputation, but I’m definitely playing looser and not as worried about every mistake.”

College commitment may be a major achievement in the journey of a high school athlete, but there is still some work left to do. Detty, who posted 17 goals and 16 assists last year en route to a first-team All-State recognition, looks forward to proving himself to his team, his opponents and his doubters.

“On my Indy Fire team, I’m on the B team technically, so whenever people found out I was talking to [Kentucky], nobody believed me, because I had coaches say I’m not that good,” Detty said. “I got rejected from the A team a lot. So, [I] just don’t listen to anyone and kind of just do what [I] want to do and play really hard.”

Though Detty receives criticism despite his accolades and commitment, he says he stays focused on his goals.

“People ask me: what are you studying in college? And I’m going into business but I don’t want to do business. I want to go pro; I want to try and make the best career I can out of soccer,” Detty said.

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About the Contributor
Gourav Pany, Website Editor
Junior Gourav Pany has been on staff for three years. He started his Publications career in his freshman year when writing stories about fantasy football and school features. Pany is a website editor and is currently working on sports and student features for the website, along with weekly sports previews. Pany would like to note that he likes writing, sports (especially soccer) and running.
You can overcome anything, if and only if you love something enough. -Lionel Messi

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