Senior Athletes Look Forward To Next Chapters in NCAA

The collegiate recruitment process is notoriously intense and complicated for athletes to navigate. However, nine members of Sidwell’s Class of 2023 have navigated the process, committing to universities across the country to continue their athletic careers at the Division I and Division III levels of the NCAA. With their sights set on hefty goals — both academically and athletically — these student-athletes are eager and ready for their next chapter.

Seniors Matt Eaton, Selden Pickens, Lewis Labson and Hannah Meyers are continuing their athletic careers at Division III institutions. 

Eaton committed to the University of Rochester this fall as a recruit to its football program. With just under 7,000 undergraduates and 12,000 total students enrolled at Rochester, Eaton shared that “the school’s size played a big part” in his commitment. Rochester is one of the largest DIII institutions in the Northeast, and, with Eaton being an aspiring engineer, Rochester will allow him to pursue his academic goals while simultaneously playing football. 

Pickens will be playing basketball at Chapman University in Orange, California starting next fall. While studying in Chapman’s Dodge College of Film Media and Arts, Pickens is planning on pursuing his degree in Entertainment Marketing. 

“I really want to get into the film industry, and Chapman offers a top film program for me to take advantage of while also playing the sport I love,” Pickens said. “It was the perfect fit for me,” he added. 

Labson, another Division III recruit, is joining the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehen Football Program as a student at Pitzer College. With multiple DIII offers, Labson chose Pitzer because of its academic focus on environmental science, the school’s access to resources at all five of the Claremont colleges and its competitive football team within the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. 

Meyers, the fourth and final DIII recruit, recently committed to Wesleyan University to play field hockey. After playing four years on Sidwell’s Varsity Field Hockey Team, Meyers is looking forward to continuing her athletic career in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

“The Sidwell field hockey program shaped so much of my high school experience, and I feel so honored I get to have that in college,” Meyers said. “Between Coach Kemp and the girls on the Wes field hockey team, it was a no-brainer that I wanted to play there and be part of the athletic community at Wesleyan,” she added.

On Nov. 9, 2022, the formal signing day, Sidwell students crowded into the Rusch Room to see seniors Jadyn Donovan, Laila Kostorowski, Alice Xu, Cameron Gillus and Khia Miller sign their National Letters of Intent to various Division I programs. 

Donovan, ranked nationally as the No. 3 recruit in the Class of 2023 by ESPN, will be taking her talents to Duke University in the fall to join the Blue Devils Women’s Basketball Program.
“Having the opportunity to play under a head coach like Kara Lawson was an opportunity I could not pass up,” Donovan said “I think that she will really help me develop my game. It’s a newer program, so I also think I can make an impact as soon as I get there,” she added.

Another big motivating factor for Donovan was staying close to home. Duke being just a four-hour drive away will allow her to stay connected with friends and family in the Washington area.

Kostorowski will be spending her next four years in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan playing for its women’s lacrosse team. 

“I chose Michigan because their offer validated the academic and athletic effort and work I have been putting in over the past few years,” Kostorowski said. “I know people say to not commit anywhere solely based on the coaching staff because they could be gone within the next four years, but the coaching staff at Michigan made me feel wanted and that I could make an impact as soon as I get there,” she continued.

After suffering a torn ACL this past fall, Kostorowski is ready to get back on the field as soon as she can. 

Ready to join the Fighting Illini in Urbana-Champaign, Xu committed to play tennis at the University of Illinois last fall, where she also plans to major in computer science. When it came down to choosing a school, Xu said that at Illinois, she “felt at home with the team and campus” and “felt it provided the best opportunity for [her] to achieve [her] athletic and academic goals.” 

With Illinois currently ranked No. 40 in the country for women’s tennis, Xu says she is  “most looking forward to being constantly challenged, getting better, competing at a high level in the Big 10 and fighting alongside [her] new teammates.” 

Gillus is headed to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania next fall to join the Lehigh University Men’s Basketball Team.

“I committed [to Lehigh] because I feel that I have the best chance of getting good playing time as soon as I get there,” Gillus said. He also commented on Lehigh’s tight-knit community, academics and support of its sports programs as attractive aspects of the school. 

Ranked No. 94 nationally in the Class of 2023 by ESPN, Miller will be joining the East Carolina Women’s Basketball Team for the next four years.

Coming in with around 30,000 undergraduates, ECU is precisely what Miller is looking for.

“I am really looking for something different, something bigger than what I have experienced here at Sidwell,” Miller said.

“The coaching staff is great, and they made me feel so welcomed when I visited,” Miller continued. “The people currently on the team are fun, and we have a good shot at going to the NCAA tournament in the next couple of years,” she added. 

Off the court, Miller is looking to study history with a concentration in Black Studies in hopes of pursuing a law degree post-grad.

Although their Sidwell athletic careers are rapidly coming to a close, these nine athletes are ready to embark upon entirely new adventures in college athletics.