Journey to the Big Leagues: Asbery, Carter, Rivera Receive Athletic scholarships

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By Maiya Ezawa
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(Photo courtesy of Denise Yamamoto) After years of hard work and dedication in both school and club, Rivera has received a scholarship to play softball with the University of Hawaii.
(Photo courtesy of Denise Yamamoto) After years of hard work and dedication in both school and club, Rivera has received a scholarship to play softball with the University of Hawaii.

In the midst of college application season, three MHS athletes have been recruited to play at the collegiate level. Varsity girls volleyball players Seniors Hope Carter and Katherine Asbery have signed to Wayne State College and Felician University respectively, and varsity girls softball player Senior Merilis Rivera has signed to the University of Hawaii among many others. After being recruited, the three gave verbal commitments to these colleges. They now look forward to the excitement that the transition from high school to college will bring.

“When I got the offer and then he told me I got the scholarship, I felt so accomplished because I’ve played volleyball for the last six, seven years and all that work I put in paid off. And all that money my parents paid, I’m paying that off with my scholarship,” expressed middle block Senior Katherine Asbery.

Carter, setter for the Varsity Girl’s Volleyball team, has committed to Wayne State College in Nebraska, where she plans to study sports medicine. “I honestly thought I did not do well at all; and at the very end of the showcase, no coaches came up to me, no coaches came to talk to me so I thought no one was interested,” stated Carter. “But the next day, the actual Vegas tournament started and right after our first match a coach came up to my coach and started talking to him and gave him a card. (Then) my club coach came up to me and (relayed) what the coach said to him and told me, ‘You have a full ride offer right then and there’ and I was like, ‘What?’ I started tearing up as my coach was telling me all the information and right when he was done I called my mom back at home and I told her. (It) was hard to keep it together because I never thought I could do it.”

Working hard since childhood, Carter scored a full ride scholarship. “(The coach) gave me more information on what the scholarship included; it was room, board and food. The only thing I’d have to pay for is travel from home to there and that’s pretty much it. He went over the whole cost and what positions he would use me for, my high school position, setter and he would throw me in to hit so I kind of got the best of both worlds, explained Carter. “And what was kind of cool was that he gave me my favorite number, number eight, so it goes from my high school number to my college number and I’m just so grateful that they were able to find me because at first I had no idea where this school was, if this school was good or anything or even if they were in the United States, but in the end it was a good find for me.”

Asbery committed to Felician University in New Jersey, where she plans to study neurology. She was offered a partial scholarship of $26,500 a year. “I wanted to go to D1 (Division one). That was my original goal, but then I realized that I am not really good enough, that I’m not on that level. So then I started looking at D2 (Division 2), just looking around and I have a recruiting profile (where a college started to view) me,” said Asbery. “I emailed them and they emailed me right back and the coach wanted to talk to me and said, ‘I think you’d be a great fit for this team.’ After the first day talking to the coach he was like, ‘I’m willing to offer you a scholarship.’ (Although) I’ve never been to New Jersey, (it) felt like the right fit for me. So I called him back a week later and I gave my verbal (commitment).”

Asbery plans to continue her friendship with Carter, and says that they are already planning to visit each other in college. “Carter wants me to go to Nebraska, but I’m like, you can come and visit me. I’m 15 minutes out of New York City so there’s definitely more to do there,” said Asbery. “And we’re both in D2 so hopefully sometime down the road, if we both make it to the D2 tournaments for the National Collegiate Athetic Association (NCAA), we can play each other. It’s really cool,” added Carter.

Merilis Rivera, a varsity softball infielder, was offered an 80 percent athletic scholarship for the University of Hawaii. She plans to study psychology or social science. “I mainly was speechless and I mainly took the offer because I knew it was going to be good for me. I love playing the sport and I heard that their coach is a really good coach. I was just overall speechless and it made me want to work (harder) to keep my scholarship,” stated Rivera.

Reflecting on the beginning of high school, Rivera feels that she has grown as a person. “I will remember all my teachers. They pushed me to this point and if it was not for them, I probably never would have had the motivation to do well in the classroom. Even my coaches too, I thank them for pushing me this far,” said Rivera. “I have grown a lot, just in my first two years (I) kind of struggled, and I think that my maturity grew a lot, so that I peaked in junior year.”

These Lady Trojans have worked hard in high school and are ready to embark on a new chapter of their lives. All three agreed that the lessons they learned while at MHS will continue to guide them now and into the future.