By Jordan Carrier
April Serrano (280): Rowing, coxswain
Committed: Syracuse University, D1
Starting in middle school, April Serrano, a senior, has rowed for a variety of Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR) teams. She has been a member of the PCR middle school, novice women, varsity women, and men’s varsity teams. Now, she is ready to row at the next level. Coxswain Serrano describes how COVID-19 affected her college recruitment process.
Serrano explains that COVID-19 made her lose “a lot of valuable playing time and otherwise experiential learning time.” She goes on to explain the recruitment process for coxswains: “You need a coxswain to record you during a race. I, unfortunately, did not have a recording because COVID-19 canceled our season. When I reached out to universities and filled out recruitment forms, I’d have to specify my situation.”
Fortunately, Serrano’s “coaches [were] really amazing and we were able to set up meetings via Zoom with college coaches. My coaches were really the ones who sold me by giving a first-person account of my skills. These accounts were enough for the college coaches to overlook my missing data. They were really understanding of how impactful covid-19 was on the last season.”
Through a lighthearted, optimistic tone, Serrano explains how COVID-19 helped her in the recruitment process: “I think COVID was beneficial in a way that I was able to meet with more college coaches online than I would have in person. It gave me a lot of time to really express my intentions elaborately on my profile and reveal my personality to them. Also, decisions came back a lot faster with all of the divisions [D1, D2, and D3]. D3 teams told me that they lost a lot of valuable players from the graduating class so they were quick to make contracts while D1 teams had few openings but were very keen on having 2020-21 rosters set before the winter. D1 teams would tell me they were looking to recruit a mere maximum of 1-2 coxswains for their incoming team.”
Serrano continues, “I was lucky enough to finish the recruitment process with all of my target colleges and I committed to Syracuse University. Their coaches were the ones who were really interested in me to the point where they offered me a full ride. So I felt both positive and negative about COVID in terms of how it impacted my process. I don’t know if I would have had as much exposure if COVID never happened and if I would still have committed to a D1 university on a full ride.”
She explains, “All recruitment forms ask for GPA, grades, and class rank. For coxswains especially, scholarships are extremely rare because most D1 schools leave their limited spots for rowers. So you have to have target grades while getting recruited as a coxswain. I was fortunate enough to qualify for Syracuse merit scholarships as well as a full ride.”
Serrano offers advice to fellow student-athletes: “I advise student-athletes to not let go of their grades completely and definitely prioritize them because there is a lot of money out there for intelligent athletes. You have to make sure you can get into the school on your own before getting in based on your sport.”
Charlotte Carlies (280): Basketball, forward
Committed: Millersville University, D2
Since she was in third grade, Charlotte Carlies has been playing basketball. She is a member of Central’s Girls’ Varsity Basketball team and K-Low Elite, an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. For Carlies, basketball has always been a thrilling game as well as an escape from the rest of the world. Now a senior, she is ready to continue her passion at the next level. Carlies describes how COVID-19 affected her college recruitment process.
Carlies expresses, “It was hard because a lot of college coaches were not coming out to watch games during the summer to stay safe from COVID-19.” The forward was disappointed when she “found out that a lot of coaches were not recruiting because the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) gave everyone an extra year of eligibility.” She explains, “It was more work for us as student-athletes because we had to contact coaches by email and text to try and stay in touch with them. That way, the coaches knew that we were interested in their basketball team and the school.”