On the Dotted Line

Making it to the collegiate level of a sport is the dream of many high school athletes. On Feb. 1, that dream became a reality for two Wildcats: seniors Nick Burgess and Austin Camps. Burgess committed to the University of North Florida soccer team while Camps signed with the University of South Florida’s cross-country team.

“I had a bunch of other offers,” Burgess said. “I chose UNF because they have a top 25 program in the country; they were ranked 22nd in the nation. They just built a brand new $30 million biology building and my major is bio. They’re losing three of their defenders, so the coach has already told me that I will be in contention for spots right off the bat as a freshman, and obviously they gave me a big chunk of change which helps going to college.”

Burgess offers an anecdote of advice for any aspiring high school athletes: “There’s kind of a misconception, a lot of people think that if you go to games, you’re not going to get scouted. I’ve heard a lot of parents say ‘oh it’s useless, you’re not going to get scouted from that,’ but the truth is you can get scouted from anywhere. I never once emailed a single coach, all I did was go out there and focus on playing the game.”   

Camps had a similar experience with collegiate scouts, noting that he was contacted by the USF cross-country coach, thanks to exceptional times to begin the season.

“I came in contact with them after the beginning of cross-country season,” Camps said. “Their coach, Coach Reef, said she was interested in meeting me and watching me throughout the season, and I had some pretty good times at the beginning of the season, so she paid for me to come over and visit USF and meet the team.”

Both Burgess and Camps attracted a lot of attention from Division 1 colleges, however they finalized their decisions on Feb. 1.

“I was deciding between USF and UF,” Camps said. “I chose USF because the members of their team are more positive, and I will get to run more often there. There are fewer members on their team, which is one of the reasons I chose them over UF.”

By Ben Lack and Kishan Ghayal