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SHS Alumni Series : Jake Wilcox

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He is an excellent baseball player – one of the best that has ever come through Sunnyvale. I can safely say we wouldn’t have won the championship if Jake wasn’t on the team.”

Head Coach Tim Arden

To begin the SHS Alumni Series, The Sentinel chose a graduate who exemplified hard work and talent in both academics and athletics. Jake Wilcox graduated in the class of 2014, and left with both a 3A Baseball State Championship and a Division 1 Athletic scholarship under his belt. As a proud Sunnyvale graduate and a collegiate level student-athlete, Jake offered to share his own experiences and give prospective seniors important advice.

1.What was your high school experience like and what activities were you involved in?

My high school experience was phenomenal. I was in choir for a year, National Honor Society, class president my freshman year, FFA, and I played baseball. I enjoyed every aspect of high school, and being involved with all those things definitely added to that enjoyment.

2. How did you ultimately choose the college you attended? What factors contributed to your decision?

I chose UT Arlington because it was the best place for not only my baseball career, but for me financially as well. I had other offers, even a few Ivy Leagues, but those schools and another school, Tulane, were very expensive and would have made it tough on my family. UT Arlington had the best baseball team among my offers, and it is also a very challenging school that provides a good education,  so it was the best of both worlds. They also offered me the most scholarship money in terms of percentage, so it was best for my family financially. One definitely has to factor in a lot of things when it comes to where they are going to spend the next four years of their lives, and I felt UT Arlington had the most pros of the schools I could have attended.

3.How did Sunnyvale prepare/not prepare you for your college experience?

Sunnyvale did a good job because of the dual credit system, especially with the classes that brought in a professor from Eastfield. While the classes were easier than the classes here at UTA (which is expected as they are at a junior college), they introduced me to how college classes would be. There are some things I was not prepared for, such as balancing the workload with baseball practice, but that is not something Sunnyvale can prepare someone for – it’s just a completely different environment.

4. Since you play D1 baseball, what is that experience like? What advice do you have for athletes that hope to pursue college sports?

My advice to a high school athlete who hopes to play in college is to be 100% committed to the sport AND school. If a player has the opportunity to play a sport in college, they must be serious. If you slack off in your sport or school, it will show big time.

My typical day consists of being busy with weights, school, and practice from around 6:00 a.m. to 7:00p.m, and on Tuesdays, I am busy until 10 p.m. Some people have this notion that athletes like to just slack off and have fun all the time, but the free time we get is slim to none. As soon as practice is over (or class if you have night classes like me), you have to immediately start homework and hope you finish in time to get enough sleep in order to not be miserable at weights the next morning. So my advice would be, if you are good enough to play in college, you have to be 100% committed. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and either fail classes or get cut from whatever team you play for. It’s tough, but I would not have it any other way. I am willing to suffer these long weeks in order to be able to play the sport I love at the highest collegiate level. If you’re not willing to suffer the long days, then college athletics is not for you.

5. What advice do you have for seniors that are currently applying to colleges? How did you stop yourself from feeling overwhelmed?

This is a tough question because my application process was different. I personally did not have to worry about getting accepted to the school I chose, because if you are offered a scholarship to play at a school, the chances of you getting into said school are high as the admission board helps out the athletic teams. I also only applied to UTA because I knew that’s where I was going. But I would say wherever a student goes, they can make it fun and enjoyable. Every school has its  perks and different things that make it unique, so find the school that you think fits best.

 

The Sentinel expresses our thanks to Jake for his participation and help with this story!

Raiders, be on the lookout for more from the SHS Alumni Series! For updates, follow the Sentinel on twitter @SHS_Sentinel

 

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SHS Alumni Series : Jake Wilcox