Bringing Their Talent to the Next Level
February 13, 2015
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It is around that time of year again when seniors must make some life changing decisions about where they want to go after high school. While many students have until May to decide, others are already verbally committing to schools on sports scholarships. Among these students are seniors Corinne Belkoff, Hagen Hyatt and Hannah Orbach-Mandel.
Belkoff has been doing gymnastics for 13 years and is currently a part of the Arizona Dynamics club team. Belkoff has been extremely dedicated to gymnastics all her life. She practices every day after school and on the weekends as well, which adds up to a total of 22 hours a week. Going to college on a gymnastics scholarship has been a long time dream of Belkoff’s and this year that dream is coming true.
Recruiters from Arizona State University first spoke to Belkoff’s coach at regionals her sophomore year of high school. She was then contacted August of her junior year. Since then she has maintained a relationship with the ASU coaches through emailing, phone calls and the occasional visit. “Recruiting has been exciting but also really nerve-wracking. Going up to such a large university was intimidating, but meeting the team was a really great experience,” said Belkoff about the recruitment process.
On her unofficial visit she also got to attend a football game to get a feel for how she liked the school’s student life overall. Committing to ASU was a big deal for Belkoff; however, she knew it was the right choice. Belkoff excitedly exclaimed, “I can’t wait to be a Sun Devil next year!”
Hyatt has been playing soccer since he was just six years old. The first club team he played for was Foothills Soccer Club and after that he switched to Rush for a while. He has now been playing for Tucson Soccer Academy for the past five years. “TSA is by far the best club I have ever played for, it’s been an awesome experience,” said Hyatt.
Serious about playing soccer collegiately, Hyatt attended an ID camp in Grand Junction, Colorado January of last year. At these camps young athletes are given the opportunity to play in front of coaches from Division I, II and III schools. During his time there, Hyatt met the coach of Colorado Mesa University. Impressed by Hyatt’s dedication and performance, the coach asked him to return to the camp in July. A few weeks later Hyatt was offered a spot on the soccer team at Colorado Mesa.
Hyatt has spent the last year completely dedicating himself to improving his soccer skills. “I have been training with the 97s, playing men’s league soccer and indoor soccer. I also train with Ron Fox on Tuesdays and Fridays, which consists of strength and conditioning to make me stronger and faster on the field. I’m happy to see my hard work finally pay off!” said Hyatt of his rigorous schedule.
On top of his conditioning training, Hyatt practices four times a week and plays in games twice a week. It is safe to say Hyatt eats, sleeps and breathes soccer! Verbally committing to CMU was an exciting moment for Hyatt and he can’t wait to continue playing the sport he loves.
Orbach-Mandel has been swimming competitively for the Tucson JCC Stingrays for ten years now. Throughout her life she has participated in a variety of other sports, such as cross country, track and basketball. However, swimming is her true passion.
It wasn’t until her junior year that she seriously considered swimming for a university team. Orbach-Mandel filled out a recruitment form for Kenyon College on January 1 of 2014 and was contacted by the coaches within the following few days.
During the summer of her junior year, Orbach-Mandel took several unofficial visits to Kenyon College to see how she liked the school. Orbach-Mandel spoke of her visits and said, “I had an amazing time! The visits really gave me an idea of what it would be like to attend the school next year. The campus was beautiful and I am really pleased with the coaches and swim team.”
Orbach-Mandel also visited the University of Chicago on November 14 and she has been in contact with coaches at Emory regarding swimming.
Deciding which school to go to will be a difficult decision. “Ultimately my decision will be based on which schools I get accepted to, how much money I am offered, and most importantly, which one I feel is the best fit for me,” explained Orbach-Mandel. No matter which school she chooses, there is no doubt that she will go on to do great things!
Aside from Corinne, Hagen and Hannah, there are many other senior athletes that plan to compete collegiately, and The Falcon Voice wishes all of them the best of luck.