Staples (Conn.) junior chooses Colgate

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Ryan Kirshner, a junior midfielder from Staples (Westport, Conn.), has verbally committed to play women's lacrosse for Colgate University.

ESPNHS: What other school’s did you consider?

Ryan Kirshner: "From the beginning of my recruiting process I always loved Colgate University and Brown University. I had to the chance to meet the assistant Colgate coaches and all of the Brown coaches at the Brown camp I went to over the summer. Previous to this camp, at the end of my sophomore year, I had made a Top 10 of schools that I really liked. However, after the camp I was determined to go to either Colgate or Brown and I focused on emailing them and scheduling dates to visit because I knew I wanted to end up at one of the two schools. I didn’t completely shut down my options, I emailed with other schools and visited other schools in my Top 10 however I knew where I wanted to end up. In the end I am thrilled I am able to play lacrosse at Colgate, just what I wanted from the beginning!"

ESPNHS: What made Colgate such an attractive choice?

RK: "When first stepping onto the campus I loved the rural setting and the small town of Hamilton made Colgate such an attractive choice. As well having already been coached by both of the assistant coaches (coaches Pearsall and Hogan) at the Brown Camp, I was able to see how they actually coached and get a feel for their personalities. Then when I actually visited Colgate and met the Head Coach, coach Young, she made me feel welcomed and was very straightforward with me, which was what I always wanted from a lacrosse program. I immediately loved the coaching staff and how they were approaching the whole recruiting process. The day I visited was the Alumi lacrosse game and Homecoming so it was a very busy weekend, but that made it even better. I was able to see what student life was really like and how closely nit the student body is. Also as I play soccer in high school, I really like how they have a strong soccer program, so I can still be an avid soccer fan; it’s a great addition. It's also a great bonus that I currently have two close friends that are on the cross country and track teams at Colgate, it’s great to have them there for advice. In the end it came down to the strong academics, how much each team is supported by everyone at Colgate, and the great lacrosse program that coaches Young, Pearsall, and Hogan provide."

ESPNHS: What surprised you about the recruiting process?

RK: "What surprised me the most about the recruiting process was how fast everything happened compared to last year recruiting. At my high school last year five girls had verbally committed to play in college - at BU, UConn, Brown, Columbia and Skidmore. I remember even as some of them were early recruits, it was later then it is now. It really surprised me how competitive the recruiting process has become and how each year it’s going faster."

ESPNHS: What was the most important question you asked college coaches during the process?

RK: "The most important question I asked college coaches during the process was definitely, “How do your student athletes balance school and athletics, do they miss class often?” As I wanted to pick a school which was not only a great fit athletically but as well was academically, it was really important for me to see what accommodations are made for student athletes. The lacrosse team at Colgate has a coordinator that builds athletes' schedules with them, to prevent missing class. As well they to keep an eye on the athletes academically to make sure they are balancing everything fine. I was able to learn that the lacrosse team at Colgate does balance their academics and athletics fine, and does not miss class often. This was extremely appealing to me because I want to get a great education while playing the sport I love."

ESPNHS: What one piece of advice would you give to other players who are just starting on the recruiting process?

RK: "One piece of advice I would give to other players who are just starting is that there’s a school for everyone out there whether D-I, D-II, or D-III. Be determined to find that school, go to camps and clinics and make visits to schools to really establish what school it is. Also, the recruiting process is very stressful so give it time, make a Top 10 list of schools you would like to go to with both pro’s and con’s, it’s really helpful."

ESPNHS: Is there anything about the recruiting process that you think could change that would have made it easier or less stressful for you?

RK: "During the recruiting process, the month of November was certainly the most stressful month of it all. Playing at the Prime Time Tournament, Mid-Atlantic Tournament, and Presidents Cup Tournament back-to back-to-back was very stressful. Trying to manage ACT and SAT testing, school academics, and all of these tournaments was tough, but doable. If I were to change anything I would change the dates of tournaments to have even one weekend in between to practice and study. I think that would help all prospective student athletes and give them a chance to breathe."

E-mail lacrosse editor Mike Loveday at Michael.Loveday@espn.com with commitments. Follow ESPNHS Lacrosse on Twitter @ESPNMike.