Maggie Balint, a pitcher from Pennsylvania, chased her goal of playing at a top-tier Division I softball program and she was fortunate to make it. However, her journey was nothing short of a roller coaster ride.
As a sophomore in high school, Balint describes herself as being a low profile player, having only had one year of high school athletics under her belt. At the time she was deciding between two smaller schools but the Division I schools were heavily recruiting Balint. “I wasn’t the kid to have a dream school or somebody that had an idol,” Balint said in regards to her decision process. Early on in high school, Balint committed to a smaller DI school that was close to home because she thought at that time, that it was the place for her. Shortly after her verbal commitment, she worked hard and obtained a higher level of performance with her game and was awarded statewide accolades. Balint decided it was time to expand her horizons and look at other colleges. “Towards the end of my sophomore year I had thoughts about not attending the school, but I had no idea how to tell my coaches and my parents that I didn’t want to go to that college.” On top of de-committing, Balint had zero plans to fall back on. However, after much thought and a lot of guts, she sat down with her future collegiate coaching staff to tell them that after not even being committed for a year, she was withdrawing her decision and heading in another direction.
Balint was once again on the market for recruitment. This time, the second go-around was much different than the first. “My junior summer was the most intense, fun, crazy and stressful time of my life.” Her travel ball tournaments mostly hosted in Colorado, posed opportunities for her to get seen by a surplus of schools. After performing well in Colorado, Balint admits she had over 20 offers in six days. She was shocked by how much a difference a year made regarding the demand for Maggie Balint, 5’8 right-handed pitcher, on the college recruiter market.
“The three things I was looking for in a school were distance, weather, and the best team I could be on to win a national championship.” Those goals narrowed down her search, big time. Her senior year, Balint went on four official visits, she went to Texas A&M, California, Minnesota, and Oregon. After visiting Oregon, Balint knew she had made up her mind. Not only was she fond of the head pitching coach, Mike White, but she also wanted to become a member of the number one recruiting class in the country that belonged to the Ducks. So, a month before signing day, she committed for the second time to the University of Oregon.
Balint is currently a sophomore at Oregon and has never regretted crossing the country for her beloved sport. Her freshman year, the Ducks tied UCLA for the longest winning streak (35-0) in Women’s Softball. To add to the list, Oregon placed third in the Women’s College World Series.
“It was a special season for the Ducks.”
Balint chalks her freshman year up to being remarkable, both on and off the field. However, moving up a grade level now poses another struggle for the pitcher. “School is a lot harder. Since Oregon athletics is so big and the demand for my sport is so high, academics are harder to handle.”
Behind every glamorous student-athlete roster photo is a young adult who is still trying to find their path and purpose in life, along with being the very best at their sport. Balance and time management is a skill that student-athletes must perfect to succeed. “It’s a lot different from the outside than from the inside. Sophomore year is a lot different. There are more expectations and pressure.”
The reality of playing a collegiate sport is there will always be highs and lows, trials and triumphs. What makes being a student-athlete so exceptional is the ability to build character alongside having the opportunity to play a sport. “One thing I would tell teenagers to know about going through the recruitment process is coaches are different when everything is on the line. It is a business, and as a player, you need to know how to do business and be successful.”
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.