From the classroom to college sports

by Amelia Severn, staff

Senior Kaitlyn Manalili will continue playing soccer next year at Colorado School of Mines in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, RMAC. From the age of 5, Kaitlyn Manalili and her sister, Morgan, have always played soccer at the highest levels. She currently plays for Pac NW Soccer Club and has the past couple years. Since starting club soccer Manalili has always had her ambitions set on playing at the next level.

“I had already been playing for awhile and I was like, if I’m already putting in all this work and time, why don’t I try to play at the next level,” she said. A lot of preparation goes into becoming as talented as she is: she has at least three club practices throughout the week with usually a game on the 

weekend, along with speed and agility training and training with friends outside the club. 

Throughout her soccer career Manalili has met great people that contributed to many memories. Her two favorite memories were winning Surf cup, one of the top tournaments in the country and in high school, winning districts. “Winning Surf I think was the best day of my life, it was the peak of my career,” she said. Also through the Olympic 

Development Program, ODP, she has met a lot of great people from around the country that she continues to keep in contact with. “For ODP especially it starts out just Washington but then eventually you go to a camp for four days with soccer players from around the region,” she said. 

The recruiting process for high school soccer, players starts the summer after sophomore year. “It is very stressful,” she said. “All the recruiting is for when you play club and you mostly get recruited first though videos and then from showcases and 

tournaments. It takes a lot of work including emailing, calling, and communicating with different coaches.” 

Academics did go into her decision of attending the Colorado School of Mines. “I knew I wanted to go into the STEM field,” she said. The Colorado School of Mines is also an engineering school. 

“When I went on visits I really liked the campus and just Colorado in general,” she said. Manalili felt like she fit in with the school. “Talking with the coach I felt like I would fit with the program too,” she said. She is very excited for next year and to continue to play at the highest level. “I am most excited about playing my sister, Morgan, in preseason and being able to compete with her.” (See next paragraph on Information about her sister)

Morgan Manalili, a senior, will continue her soccer next year at Western Washington University in the the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, GNAC. Like her sister Kaitlyn, Morgan Manalili has always wanted to pursue soccer at the next level. Manalili practices three to four times a week with her club Pac NW, along with separate training on the side with friends. “I really like playing with my friends for both high school and club because my teammates are the people I am most close to,” 

Morgan Manalili said. Some of her favorite memories from soccer have been meeting new people from all over. “Through ODP I have played with a lot of people from Washington and when you go to camps there’s people from around the country,” she said.

Because of COVID, Morgan Manalili’s college recruiting experience was very different from normal years. For the large part of last year Manalili couldn’t play in an actual game. “It was a lot of putting     together different highlight videos and sending emails,” she said. 

Eventually she decided that WWU was the right option as she could continue both her academics and soccer career. “I picked Western, because they have a very good soccer program that has been very successful and I would rather stay closer to home, so I liked that it was an hour and a half away but not super close. Also I don’t know what major I want to do, so I like that it is a pretty big school with a lot of options,” she said. 

Academically, Manalili is looking into teaching or getting some sort of math degree, related to education. She finds a way to balance both school and sports by “refueling so I have energy to go to practice and then after practice I have time to do my homework.”

Senior, Ben Borgida will continue his golf and academics at Washington State University, WSU, in the PAC-12 next year. Borgida has always wanted to play at the next level; his long recruiting process began in sophomore year. “I emailed over 50 schools to start with. The whole process is not always as pretty as it might look like from the outside,” he said. In junior year, Borgida made a huge leap in his recruiting process: “I played well, and it made the process much easier,” Borgida said. 

Just reaching the collegiate level takes a lot of work and dedication. “It’s hard. Lots of sacrifices, and early mornings, especially in the busy season. It sure sucks to cancel plans with friends, or always be busy, but it’s something I have come to accept in the last year,” he said. During the summer it is even more work as that’s when all the tournaments and travel take place. “I make a schedule in the wintertime, so I know what each week will look like, and I will do  lots of specific practice depending on what tournament I am going to that week. I practice or play every day during the summer,” he said. Borgida also travels all around for these tournaments: “[I travel] mostly around Washington and the Pacific Northwest, but I have had some tournaments on the east coast.” Golf has given him some of his favorite memories. One of his favorite memories was traveling to a golf course in Brewster, Washington. “In freshman year, the Shorewood golf team took a trip to a golf tournament at a golf course called Gamble Sands. It was the most fun I have ever had in my life. I have also enjoyed playing with my dad, as he has gotten more into playing after I began my golfing career,” he said.

All of this hard work led him to Washington State, where he felt a perfect fit. “When I was down to my last three choices, WSU just stood out in a few ways. When I took my visit in the fall, Coach White and Coach Tucker made me feel so at home. The facilities are awesome, but the people are even better. They also have a phenomenal golf course on campus, which I cannot wait to have access to. I will be attending the honors college at WSU, which I also visited in the summer, and right away knew it was my place,” he said. Borgida is very excited to continue his academics and interests at WSU. He will be studying “something in the STEM field. I always have been interested in going to medical school, but I recently have been interested in pursuing dentistry and psychology.” Overall, Borgida is most looking forward to the competition at the next level: “I am always looking for someone to compete with, and now I will have 9 other collegiate golfers who are also trying to play the best golf they can.”