Where Did the Former Ramletes Go?

Michael Mantzouranis, Sports Managing Editor

Playing sports at the collegiate level is a dream for many young student athletes across the globe. However, for most athletes, this dream simply will not come true. It is very rare for a high school athlete to continue on playing in college.
According to the NCAA website, only 3.5 percent of male athletes and 3.9 percent of female athletes will continue playing basketball in college. The statistics are similar for the other sports offered in high school, including football and soccer.
With these statistics being so low, it seems nearly impossible for RHS athletes to be able to make it to this level of play. However, in last year’s graduating class alone, 13 of the school’s students took their sport careers to the collegiate level.
The journey to the college level of play is not just beneficial for these particular alumni, but for other aspiring collegiate athletes at RHS as well.
Junior Asa Hemenway, a player on the varsity basketball team, commented on several of the alums’ work ethics and dedication.
“I think it is great that some of our athletes are able to further their careers in college, especially considering how hard they worked while they were at Rockville,” he said. “I look up to these athletes as role models, and hopefully I can make it just like them.”
Essex Thompson is one of these individuals that was able to further is career at the collegiate level. A senior last year at RHS, Thompson is now a freshman in college playing for the Bridgewater Eagles.
As of February 24, according to Bridgewater’s website, Thompson has played in 25 of the 26 Eagles games, and is averaging 4.8 points per game, 1.2 rebounds per game, with 13.4 minutes played per game. In his best performance this season, Thompson scored 18 points while shooting 75 percent from behind the arc.
Thompson was a prolific scorer for the Rams last year, averaging 15.9 points per game on the season, according to the Washington Post. His performance led to his being on the Montgomery County All-Star team last year, a team made up of the best players in the county.
Thompson said he was thankful that RHS prepared him for the college level.
“The coaches at Rockville, particularly Coach Watson, prepared me well for college ball. He taught me that hard work and skill development outside of practice are keys to being a good player,” he said. “Rockville also taught me that great things come from being a student athlete.”
Thompson is not the only player from RHS who was able to advance to the college level for sports in recent years. According to the “Rockville Athletics” website, 24 other RHS athletes have continued their sport in college since 2013.
Alumni such as Paige Hailstock and Griffin Alaniz are also having success at the collegiate level. Hailstock attends Wesley College for women’s basketball, while Alaniz attends Florida State for men’s swimming. Hailstock averages 3.8 ppg and 2.6 rebounds per game. Alaniz placed 18th in the C final of the men’s 200 back, according to the Florida State website, and he posted his career best time of 1:45.86.
Junior Kaytlin Wack, a player on the girls varsity volleyball team, said she looks up to these past RHS players with inspiration.
“I’ve always wanted to play volleyball in college, but never knew if I could really make it,” she said. “But by seeing all of these other Rockville students that did, it gives me motivation to work hard to be as successful as them.”
An issue for many student athletes, however, is the actual process of getting recruited and into college. This knowledge is needed in order to be able to make it to the next level.
For students hoping to continue on to the collegiate level of play, RHS Athletic Director Michael Hayes provides his advice.
“They should also learn about what it takes to play at that level, and learn about the sacrifices people have to make to get to that level,” he said. “They should also learn about the recruiting process along the way.”
In a world where moving on to the collegiate level for sports is so rare and difficult, RHS somehow finds a way to do so each year.