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The Student News Site of Arcata High School

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College sports: A student-athletes guide

“You’re a student-athlete, so that is what comes first, and that’s what’s important.”
Kloe Bryant

When high school students start thinking about colleges, they also start thinking about if they can play sports at the next level. But what is it really like to play sports in college? Cal Poly Humboldt Athletes, Lindsey McLaughlin and Kyra Slavik, Arcata High alumni, and College of the Redwoods Athlete Mason Railsback gives us some insight into what it’s like. 

Senior Lindsey Mclaughlin is an outside hitter for the Cal Poly Humboldt Volleyball team. She originally played at Solano Community College before transferring in 2021.  

Sophomore Mason Railsback is a forward for the CR basketball team. Railsback graduated from Arcata High in 2021 and is playing his first season with Redwoods. 

Junior Kyra Slavik is a setter for the Cal Poly Humboldt volleyball team. Slavik originally played D1 at Ohio University and the University of Wyoming. She graduated from Wyoming and committed to play at Humboldt for two more years. 

No game-days 

Most mornings usually consist of going to the gym and then classes. 

“Typically I would wake up at 6:45, and then head to weights at 7:30, start weights at 7:50, and then that lasted about 45 minutes,” McLaughlin said. 

For most CR athletes, they don’t take too many in-person classes, according to Railsback.

 “For me it’s all online, so my days are pretty chill,” Railsback said. 

Game days

[My day] doesn’t look that much different,” Railsback said. He said the only difference is to prepare mentally for the game. For Mclaughlin and Slavik, their game days are a bit different. 

“We have serve and pass,” Slavik said. 

“To get reps in before the game.”

 “Then we would go into our team meal,” Mclaughlin said. Then it’s game time for these athletes!


The recruitment process will look different for everyone. Both Railsback and Mclaughlin were recruited to a Junior College, while Slavik was recruited to a Division 1 college. 

“It’s not a special story,” Railsback said. 

“I was just asked if I wanted to come play at CR.” He was familiar with both coaches, since one was an old high school coach and the other he did skill work with. 

“At the end of my first year [at Solano Community College], I started emailing coaches,” Mclaughlin said.

 “I sent them an old game film that I had and a nice long email about who I was as a person.” 

For Slavik, her recruitment process started at the young age of 14. 

For setters, they usually get recruited earlier because they are needed most on the team,” Slavik said. 

Student life

Student-athletes have a large commitment of having to keep good grades while playing a sport. So how do you balance school and sports in College?

For some athletes, like Slavik, it’s fairly easy.

 “I do not procrastinate & always do my assignments ahead of the due date,” Slavik said. 

With jam-packed days with either practice or games, you have to be able to use your time wisely.

 “You really have to prioritize the time that you have off from practice,” Mclaughlin said


A huge question arises when thinking about playing sports in college sports; What should you be doing to take it to the next level? While the three athletes gave their tips, so did the athletic directors of Cal Poly and Redwoods. 

The first tip that the CR athletic director, Bob Brown, gave was to make a video. As Mclaughlin said to email coaches, also include a video.

 “if possible, any highlights from high school, AAU, or even practice of playing the sport they are interested in being recruited for to share with college coaches,” Brown said

Another tip that Cal Poly athletic director, Nick Petit, gave was to attend camps and clinics. When attending a camp or clinic of a college you’re interested in, you get experience with the program but also with coaches. 

The final tip given was from Railsback. 

“You’re a student-athlete, so that is what comes first, and that’s what’s important.”

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About the Contributor
Kloe Bryant
Kloe Bryant, Reporter
Kloe Bryant is a freshman who is a driven and passionate writer. Kloe is ready to expand her writing from just writing essays and personal pieces to reporting and writing for the Pepperbox. She finds excitement and enjoyment in sport articles, especially pieces that go into the mind of an athlete. She loves books, specifically the ones that make you forget about reality, but not fantasies. Kloe wants to be a writer who can write about anything, the one who can take a boring topic and make it a phenomenal and engaging piece. You can find her on instagram @kloebryant.
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