Sammy Edwards (Lacrosse)
Jackson Prince, sports editor
Junior midfielder Sammy Edwards, formerly on the radar of top lacrosse colleges such as Bucknell, Syracuse, Jacksonville and Amherst, committed to Loyola University Maryland, a Division 1 school for lacrosse, this past December. But Edwards, unlike many other high school athletes, didn’t choose lacrosse to merely fill his seventh period. The journey began in elementary school.
“I’ve been playing lacrosse competitively since fourth grade,” Edwards said. “It’s always been my passion.”
Edwards’ mother, Michelle, was impressed by her son’s love for the game.
“The thing I find most interesting about his success in lacrosse is that it’s the result of his desire, his drive,” she said. “His father and I each had played in high school, but lacrosse was only one of the many sports that we introduced to Sammy. He knew very early on that this was his game and that he wanted to play at the very highest level.”
Known as a “speedy run-and-gun midfielder” and recognized for his “shooting ability and offensive prowess,” Edwards is a physical specimen, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound “behemoth,” according to junior Karl Oger.
Though Edwards was not primarily going to attend Beverly, his decision to attend was influenced by the fact that Beverly “had a lacrosse program.”
After a season of freshman football, Edwards put all of his energy toward schoolwork and lacrosse.
He believes that his “on-field decisions” separated him, earning him the attention of collegiate scouts.
“I was recruited for my ability to succeed at the highest level possible. As well as playing with [Beverly], I play with one of the best lacrosse teams in the country, The LA Lazers, and [we] compete against the best teams in the nation.”
Soon, the scouts’ notes turned into conversations, as colleges reached out to Edwards and his family. Letters, emails and calls regularly streamed into the Edwards’ home.
However, other options were set aside upon his visit to Loyola University Maryland.
“I loved everything about the school,” he said. “I fell in love with the campus, the lacrosse program, the team. Loyola is a small school in which I can thrive…the lacrosse program is ‘big time,’ and I feel that I can accomplish a great deal on the field.”
His commitment to Loyola was recognized by lacrosse clubs and fans across the nation, as the 17-year-old African-American boy from Beverly Hills with the lacrosse stick in his hand had actualized his aspirations.
At Beverly, Edwards gained a significantly beneficial experience, as he found himself playing alongside Nick Heller, who currently plays midfield for Division 1 St. John’s University.
“Nick was a great friend, teammate and, most importantly, a great lacrosse player. I strove to be my best when playing with him,” Edwards said.
Senior Yaniv Sadka, his teammate, sees Edwards as a “confident guy,” but one who has earned the right to swagger.
“He is cognizant of his tremendous athleticism and talent and ultimately has what it takes to succeed in lacrosse and his future endeavors,” Sadka said.
Junior Jordan Etebar found that Edwards, one of his good friends, is simply a “hard worker.”
“He spent many weekends at tournaments across the country. He never took a minute off, as everything was about lacrosse,” he said.
Edwards is not shy in acknowledging his talent, but recognizes that he received a great deal of help along the way.
“I attribute my success to my parents, since they gave me the genes and the encouragement to arrive at the incredible athlete that I currently am. The training from my coach Kyle Harrison opened up many opportunities for me to grow as a lacrosse player,” he said.
Edwards, who gained his partial scholarship to Loyola University Maryland after having just two high school seasons under his belt, hopes now to “continue excelling on and off the field and train extensively for lacrosse to keep [his] skills up.”
For now, the sight of Edwards brandishing his A-stick on Nickoll Field is one that should inspire confidence in Norman lacrosse fans.
Maxwell Martin (Baseball)
Zoe Kenealy, staff writer
Senior Maxwell Martin will be attending Oberlin College in the fall, continuing his athletic career as a baseball player.
Oberlin College ranks at number 25 among the nation’s liberal-arts colleges according to US News. Martin will hold the position of pitcher on the school’s baseball team.
In picking Oberlin, Martin took into consideration the academic reputation of the school as well as its athletic program. The numerous other schools that Martin considered attending neglected to meet his academic expectations. Some schools that showed interest in Martin include Claremont McKenna College, Carleton College and McGill University.
“I had an opportunity to play Division 1 baseball, but the schools that showed interest in me were not a fit academically,” Martin said. “I attended a showcase of colleges that were recruiting, and that’s where I met with the people from Oberlin. I only attended one showcase and it was one that was specifically made for colleges ranked highly in academics.”
The start of Martin’s definite focus on high school baseball could be attributed to a gut feeling he had his sophomore year. He played varsity football as an outside linebacker and was also a member of the baseball team as a pitcher. He dedicated himself to baseball full time when he felt a “pull toward baseball.”
Martin’s peers look at his success as an inspiration and are proud of his achievements so far.
“Seeing Maxwell get into a great college with all the hard work he put into baseball really motivates me to keep going and stay strong throughout my baseball career in high school,” freshman baseball player Sydney Steinberg said.
In his final season at Beverly, Martin would like to win league and lead his team to victory in the playoffs. He aspires to continue this season becoming a stronger baseball player with his cousin, Miami Marlin outfielder Christian Yelich, as inspiration.
Alex Sams (Volleyball)
Arman Zadeh, sports editor
Senior varsity volleyball player Alex Sams committed to Vassar College earlier this year, choosing to continue her athletic career as a Vassar Brewer.
Although the decision came easy to Sams late in 2013, volleyball was not always something she considered continuing after high school. Throughout her junior year, however, Sams slowly realized that she wanted to continue the sport she loved.
Beginning her junior year, Sams was contacted by schools such as Tufts, NYU, Hamilton, Bowdoin, Connecticut College and Vassar, among others. Eventually, she decided Vassar was her best fit.
“I wanted to go to a school that was prestigious academically and somewhere where I could play volleyball that wouldn’t be overly demanding,” Sams said. “I also knew I wanted to go somewhere on the east coast for a change of scenery.”
Playing for over four years, Sams’ dedication to volleyball paid off when she was contacted by a Vassar scout after playing at a Las Vegas volleyball tournament.
Sams believes the opportunities she took to continuously play volleyball helped shape her into the athlete she is today.
“Playing for a prestigious and very competitive club team allowed me to develop key skills on top of the skills I had already learned during the school season,” Sams said. “Dedication was also a major factor. I’m always playing volleyball year round except for a two week period in summer where I don’t touch a volleyball.”
In hindsight, it is impossible for Sams to credit just one person for her success as it was a number of people who were responsible for helping her reach her goals.
“I can’t give credit to just one person,” Sams said. “Coach Weiss, my club coaches, teammates and parents have all been sources of my inspiration and success.”