Savannah Harmon was a two-year captain of the Clarkson University Division I Women’s Ice Hockey team. Harmon led the team to two National Championship titles in 2017 and 2018. Some of her greatest accomplishments include first-team All-American, Top-10 Finalist for the 2018 Patty Kazmaier award, and ECAC Hockey’s Best Defenseman Award Winner. After four outstanding years as a Golden Knight and graduating in 2018, Harmon hung up the green and gold to start a new chapter in her life. She now continues her hockey career at the professional level with the Buffalo Beauts in the National Women’s Hockey League. As a rookie, Harmon was invited to the NWHL All-Star weekend. We had the opportunity to learn about her college experience and the recruiting process.
LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer an athlete who is looking to play at the next level?
Savannah: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about focusing on day to day activities. The biggest things that you can control are your work ethic and your attitude.
LRT Sports: What was the best piece of advice that a coach offered you, and who was that coach?
Savannah: “When you look in the mirror at the end of the day, can you be happy with how hard you worked?” – My dad
LRT Sports: Did you play multiple sports in high school? If yes, what sports and would you recommend that athletes play multiple sports in high school, and why?
Savannah: In high school, I knew my main focus was on hockey and developing my game; however, my sophomore year, my team’s season had ended pretty early before spring sessions were beginning, and I played soccer for my high school team. I very much enjoyed my experience; it was a different way to stay in shape and made me more excited for hockey to begin again.
LRT Sports: When a potential recruit starts talking to coaches what should they not talk about?
Savannah: I would recommend being positive at all times about current/past teammates and coaches. This shows you’re a good teammate.
LRT Sports: Being that LRT Sports is an educational site for athletes as well as a rating site for college coaches, would you have used it as a resource?
Savannah: Yes, this site would have been very useful as it holds lots of information about college coaches and more. That is the kind of information that is hard to come around.
LRT Sports: What was your favorite part about being on a college sports team?
Savannah: My favorite part would definitely be being around my teammates all day every day. We become so close, and we push each other to reach our personal and team goals.
LRT Sports: How can an athlete get on a coach’s radar?
Savannah: An athlete can get on a coaches’ radar by playing its role to the best of its abilities. Focus on team success, and personal success will come around. On the more technical side, athletes can reach out to coaches/teams of their interests to introduce themselves and initiate conversation. This can go a long way.
Photo by Clarkson Athletics
LRT Sports: Why did you choose Clarkson to play hockey?
Savannah: I chose to play at Clarkson because of the opportunities available both through academics and hockey. The small campus made it feel like home, and the well-known hockey community in the North Country made Cheel the best arena to play in with the best pep band.
LRT Sports: Did you ever experience a coaching staff change, and if so, how did it go?
Savannah: I actually experienced a coaching staff change this year in Buffalo. The transition was smooth, and the team welcomed the new coaches. Professional hockey is a business, and sometimes things like that happen. Players try to only focus on the things they can control.
LRT Sports: How was the transition from college sports to the NWHL go? Was it difficult or smooth?
Savannah: For the most part, the transition from college sports to the NWHL was smooth. With no school, my focus was fully oriented towards hockey, which made the adaption easy. However, it is different in many ways.
LRT Sports: What was your favorite memory that you had at Clarkson University, aside from winning the National Championship?
Savannah: The lifelong friendships I have made over the years and getting to experience being on the team for four years, and the memories made each year. Especially getting to be a part of the 2018 class and spending four years together with friends that became family.
LRT Sports: What is your go-to meal before a game?
Savannah: My go-to pregame meal would have to be chicken with veggies and sweet mashed potatoes.
LRT Sports: What is your favorite part about playing professional hockey?
Savannah: My favorite part about playing professional hockey is able to play with and against some of the best players in the world, as well as continue playing the game I love after college.
LRT Sports: What is the funniest thing that a coach did, either on the ice, during a game or in the locker room?
Savannah: One pregame skate our coach got on the ice with his skate guards still on, and the whole team was on the ice and witnessed it, it was pretty funny because it always happens to one of us each year.
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.