Recruit Numbers Rise

 Pedro Lyra ’23, a recruit from Brazil, during a boys soccer game against Kent Roosevelt High School

 As Western Reserve Academy assembles for the school year and returning students continue adjusting to the new administrative direction, one cannot helpe but notice the upward trend in the number of sports recruits.

WRA Head of School Suzanne Buck is often credited with the new athletic focus. While last year mainly increased numbers in boys basketball and lacrosse, similar trends are now apparent in wrestling, girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer and girls basketball. 

Assimilating recruits into the WRA community appears to be a larger task than assigning recruits to join a sports team. WRA Athletic Department Director Pete Hutchins anticipates increased recruiting will retain long-term effects beyond the athletic field: “Strong athletic programs promote WRA’s standard of excellence [and] provide an opportunity to bring the community together,” expressing hopes for increased school spirit in everyday life at WRA. 

Increased interest in sports recruiting appears a strategic move as WRA strives to improve its historically low rating in Niche.com’s overall sports rank (currently averaging a B-). Meanwhile, non-recruited students express concern about athletes’ assimilation and adjustment to WRA culture. Nonetheless, WRA maintains its mission in preparing students for college — whether recruited or admitted academically.

Aiden Bodonyi ’23 — a boys lacrosse recruit — commented on the importance for WRA to “build a reputation” during these preliminary years of recruiting. After transferring from St. Edward High School in Lakewood to WRA his sophomore year, Bodonyi has recently committed to the Ohio State University to continue his lacrosse and academic career. 

Meanwhile, returning four-year senior Hannah Ma ’22 speaks for non-recruited students, emphasizing the need for recruits to be “more assimilated into the community” beyond their sports teams. Ma notices athletic rigor and school spirit have grown with the recruited population but believes a “negative connotation” falls upon various teams and their social exclusivity when participating in non-athletic affairs. 

Ms. Donnelly ’90—current english teacher—spearheads the Girls Field Hockey coaching staff and was known as a steady player during her own time at WRA. Ms. Donnelly comments on her “excite[ment] to improve [WRA] sports teams” with the hope that WRA can return to the era of “great records and successes” it held in the early ’90s. 

WRA’s fall athletic season just began and already shows positive results in the boys soccer partnership with Black Rock Football Club—a large feeder for newly recruited students. They currently hold a 6-0-0 record while other primarily recruited teams prepare for their seasons to come. 

– David King ’22

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