Former AACC athletes offer recruitment tips


Former AACC Men’s Lacrosse defender Justin Walsh says academics are important for recruitment.

Arianna Beers, Sports Editor

Recruiters from four-year schools are looking for community college athletes with good grades and athletic skill, according to coaches and former AACC players.

Four-year colleges recruited more than 14 AACC athletes out of the 175 who played last year to continue their athletic careers at the National Collegiate Athletic Association level.

Brittney Guy, a first-year psychology student who played volleyball at AACC in fall 2018, is on the Washington College team this semester.

Guy said her path to recruitment came second to school work.

“Even when practices ran late, or the days I was exhausted and didn’t feel like doing homework, I did,” Guy said. “Academics always came first.”

Hood College women’s volleyball coach Dana Mitchell-Barstow agreed that academics is a crucial factor when she recruits athletes.

Mitchell-Barstow said she looks for community college athletes who have a positive impact on their teams and also have good grades.

“I would say everything starts with communication and we see where it goes from there,” Mitchell-Barstow said. “Once information, references and video is received, I meet with the athlete to try and get to know them on a personal level.”

Guy said her advice to student athletes looking to play at a four-year college would be to try their hardest in the classroom and on the field.

Justin Walsh, a junior biology major at Newberry College in South Carolina, played as a defender for AACC’s Men’s Lacrosse in spring 2018. He agreed that recruiters place a heavy importance on academics.

“I took the approach that academics would get me a scholarship first before an athletics scholarship,” Walsh said. “So I made sure that school always came first.”

Walsh, who transferred to Newberry for lacrosse in the 2018-2019 school year, advised AACC athletes to prepare for the commitment that collegiate sports require.

“It’s a big jump from the [community college] level to the [NCAA] level,” Walsh said. “It’s a lot harder to manage time between academics and sports.”

Former AACC lacrosse player Camden Stramanak said four-year colleges are looking for athletes who know how to handle college-level academics and are committed to playing a sport.

Stramanak, a junior criminology major and lacrosse player at Randolph Macon College, said athletes who want to play at the NCAA level should work on getting better on the field while working their hardest in the classroom.

Still, academic success alone won’t impress recruiters from four-year colleges.

Salisbury University women’s soccer coach Kwame Lloyd said the four main characteristics he looks for in community college transfer athletes are form, fitness, effectiveness and academics.

“We’re looking for the player to show they have the tactical knowledge to play at the next level,” Lloyd said.

Guy said coaches look for a positive attitude in athletes.

“[Recruiters] want to see … if you get down on yourself or shake it off, stay positive and keep your confidence,” Guy said.

Roy Dunshee, Washington College men’s soccer coach, recommended that community college athletes show initiative and contact the coaches at four-year colleges they are interested in