Griffin Fries – Lacrosse
Junior Griffin Fries clutched his iPhone to his chest as he waited anxiously on his living room couch. It was Sept. 1, “call day” for hopeful Division One athletic commits and the day his childhood dream would hopefully come true.
Fries stayed up late that night because he knew that according to the D1 recruitment rules, schools were able to start calling at midnight. The first call he received was from Marquette University at 12:05 a.m.
“We see you as a Golden Eagle, do you see yourself?” read the countless handwritten letters Fries had remembered seeing from Marquette’s head coach.
“[The coaches] showed him that they wanted him to be a part of the team and made him feel like he could really make an impact there as soon as he got started,” Griffin’s mom, Elizabeth Fries said.
Since decommitting from the Air Force Academy on Aug. 31, where he committed to play before his sophomore year, Fries has been scouted by Boston University, Rutgers University and the University of Massachusetts.
Fries thought that Marquette was the best fit for him, verses Air Force Academy, who he had previously verbally committed to. The reason behind his decommitment and recommitment was his reprioritization of what he is looking for in a college. This included the social aspect of having a large sports team as well as the ability to feel at home while at college.
“The way they handled the recruitment process really appealed to me,” Fries said. “They flew out and were at our doorstep at 9 a.m. the day after they gave me the call.”
Though his talents were sought out by many schools, his recruitment process stood out compared to other recruits across the country. Unlike lacrosse hotbeds on the East coast like Maryland and New York, Kansas is not considered one of the top lacrosse states, making him a rarity from the midwest.
Not only is Fries’s commitment a look into his soon to be future, but it also represents Kansas as a state. Fries’s commitment has created a path for others in the area hoping to get recruited by D1 schools, according to his East assistant lacrosse coach, Dan Leff.
“Griffins commitment to a big time D1 program is so much bigger than Griffin,” Leff said. “He is really a trailblazer and someone who has now put the state of Kansas on the map for lacrosse.”
Kansas, so far, has been falling behind in the growing trend of the sport compared to other cities such as St. Louis and Denver according to Leff.Though Fries will be an outlier in a big pool of East coast lacrosse players, he knows that he is wanted and will fit in well with the team.
“Marquette showed him that he would go there and immediately be able to make a difference for the team and on the field,” Elizabeth said.
Jack Schoemann – Basketball
Senior Jack Schoemann committed on Oct. 29 and officially signed on Nov. 8 to play Division I basketball at Colorado State University.
The work that he has put into the sport has allowed him to achieve his goal of keeping up the family legacy. Jack has been training with Victor Williams, former Oklahoma State basketball player and playing for his club team, Rush, since eighth grade.
“It’s hard to find a guy who has a height like him with the ball handling and passing skills that he has,” Williams said.
Jack has been playing basketball since the age of four up until his senior year, where according to Jack, he has received a great deal of support from his East teammates as well as his coaches.
Jack’s commitment to play Division I basketball allows him to continue one of his passions, as well as keep close ties to his family.
His grandfather coached his own father and played in college himself at Springfield College in New Jersey; his dad did the same for him. Jack hopes to coach basketball after his time in college, just like his relatives before him. Jack feels as if he is keeping the legacy going and hopes to keep the strong line of basketball coursing through his family’s blood.
“I grew up with my dad coaching and even before that, [basketball] has always been in the family, so it’s cool to carry that on” Jack said.
Jack was given the opportunity to apply for early admittance with a basketball scholarship to Colorado State, whereas some athletes have to wait until April to apply. The university offered him this in hopes to make him feel more excited about joining their team, compared to other offers, according to his mom, Kristine Jack.
To Jack, his mom is the “toughest person he knows.” She also plays a role in the basketball legacy, being the “coach’s daughter;” The coach’s daughter whom Jack’s father happened to be dating.
“[Basketball] is a good anchor for his overall college experience and will hopefully keep him goal oriented as it has so far,” Kristine said.
In his commitment to Colorado State, Jack hopes to be able to continue the family legacy, all the way from the Colorado courts.
“Basketball has been a part of my family for my whole life and it means a lot that now I’ll be able to play in college just like my dad and grandad before me” Jack said.