The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

The Student News Site of East Lansing High School

Portrait

Committed to the grind

Student athletes make plans for athletic future
Courtesy+Photo
Courtesy Photo

As upperclassmen work towards planning the next step in their lives, many of them must consider where they are going to college. This brings forth an interesting dichotomy, as the college admissions experience is different for elite student athletes compared to regular applicants. While regular applicants compete with many other high schoolers to gain admission, colleges vie for standout athletes by offering scholarships to secure talent for their sports programs.   

Division I offers are hard to come by, so for many East Lansing student athletes, Division II and Division III are the most viable options. Additionally, East Lansing competes in a less competitive region in the state, which makes it more difficult for exemplary athletes to achieve national recognition. Despite this, many people still receive DI offers from East Lansing and these athletes prove themselves as the best of the best.

Rushing ahead of the competition

Members of the football team have received attention from colleges due to their successful season, having gone 10-3 this past year. Jace Clarizio (11) plays running back and has been a standout on an increasingly successful East Lansing team (1,247 total yards in 2023). Thanks to this success, Clarizio has received offers from several programs. Clarizio received six DI offers from Central Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, Louisville, Toledo and Bowling Green. The experience of receiving offers has been exhilarating for Clarizio, but none have been as exciting as the first.

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Jace Clarizio runs in a touchdown against Byron Center on Nov. 10 (Photo by Tiana Tran)

“[Coach Barnett] said, ‘Well, you got an offer for MSU.’ When I heard that, I just jumped up,” Clarizio said, “I must have run around the house 100 times!”

In the near future, Clarizio hopes to see more offers and opportunities coming down the pipeline, especially because he feels that in the coming season, he can jump as high as has done recently. 

“I’ve been hearing from [a couple of other schools], so I’m real excited about that,” Clarizio said.

Driving into the fray

For Drew Miller (12), playing some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world is more business than pleasure. This past year, Miller was the state runner up at the MHSAA Division I golf tournament. For golf, there are many different ways to make States, from individual performance to the strength of your team. Last year, Miller was the only golfer from ELHS to qualify. He went on to earn the distinction of being the top individual qualifier and came in second place overall for the second year in a row.

“It was frustrating coming in second two years in a row, but you gotta keep moving on,” Miller said.

Thanks to Miller’s success, he was one of the most sought-after athletes from East Lansing. Prior to his commitment to Michigan State last year, Miller received a big-time offer from Pepperdine University in California. However, staying close to home was an important factor for Miller.

Drew Miller (12) Hits a drive at Hot Springs Country Club in Hot Springs, AR (Courtesy Photo)

“I’ve grown up here and I’ve liked it here, so I really had no reason to leave when I broke it down,” Miller said.

Miller’s golf commitments often affect his school attendance, with tournaments and events coming up fairly consistently but for him that is all part of the journey. His goal is to become a professional golfer, and missing school for golf is important for that. Location is another issue for Miller, as winter golfing is not a possibility in Michigan. Getting to places where he can practice during the offseason is very important for Miller in order to continuously improve.

“[I have to] work at it the next four years as well as making sure I’m on a good team in college,” Miller said. “Also get down south as much as I can, just do as much work as I can and try my best to chase my goals.”

 

Skating into tomorrow

In Michigan, the process for people to enter the collegiate hockey world is different than in other sports due to the large presence of club teams. Outside of the Upper Peninsula and certain teams in the Detroit area, high school teams often lose their best players to the club level because of the lack of competition at the school level. 

Riley Fast (12) knows this all too well and has been playing at the club level for some time now. Fast plays club hockey because he wants to play among the best of the best

 

“We play against a bunch of different teams from all over with the best players throughout the country,” Fast said, “ I’ve also played with a bunch of different guys from all over the country on my team as well.”

Riley Fast (12) playing hockey for biggby (Courtesy Photo)

Fast has been supported by his dad all the way because of his dad’s history with the sport. Fast’s father played professional hockey overseas until 2011 and also made an appearance in the NHL. This has helped Fast because he has had someone with experience at the highest level of hockey to turn to for advice. He feels that he can’t live under his father’s shadow and has blazed his own path. 

“Once people know who he is, they feel that, but also I think I’ve been trying to make my own path,” Fast said. “Also it’s nice to have him there as a resource, which is great because he knows he knows the path and he knows what’s best so he can help me along the way.”

Fast’s journey is taking him in a different direction, having recently signed with the Maryland Black Bears of the NAHL. This is the next step upward for him from AAA (the highest level of youth hockey) to juniors (the lowest level of professional hockey). He hopes this will help him to move forward in the hockey world with the collegiate level being his biggest aspiration.

“I think that juniors is a great way to get looks from a bunch of different colleges throughout the country, so that’s what I think is best,” Fast said.

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About the Contributor
Joseph Powers, Staff Writer
Joseph Powers is a member of the Class of 2024 and one of the staff writers for Portrait. This is his second year on staff as a senior. Joseph’s favorite thing about journalism is crossword puzzles, he does the Wall Street Journal every day he remembers to. In what free time he has he spends it thinking of public policy and some other stuff.

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