Red Devil grads ready for next level

Athletes share memories from Central, what they're looking forward to in college

More than 30 student-athletes who graduated from Hinsdale Central High School in May will pursue their sports in college. In the first of a two-part series, The Hinsdalean asked each what he or she will remember most about competing at Central and what they're most looking forward to in their new programs.

Kiran Amegadjie

Yale University, football

I'll remember: the brotherhood that all the teams I was on formed. I feel like every week we worked not for ourselves but for the other 80 or so guys on the team.

I'm looking forward to: competing against high-level talent and refining my technique. I also feel like it's such a great learning experience that can take my game to the next level and hopefully to the NFL.

Sarah Badawi

Marquette University, tennis

I'll remember: the state tournament. It was always so competitive and fun. Tennis isn't a team sport, so going to such a big tournament like state with some of my best friends supporting my partner and I was definitely the highlight of my high school tennis career.

I'm looking forward to: being part of a team again. I cannot express the bonds and friendships I have formed through this sport. I saw a glimpse of that during high school and I am so incredibly excited to experience that at Marquette. I'm going to spend so much time with my team, whether we're at practice or an early morning workout or just hanging out, and knowing I have so many people around me supporting me and helping me get better every day is honestly all I've ever wanted.

Michael Benington

Michigan State University, swimming

I'll remember: the team spirit and work ethic of the team. The team works so hard during winter break, and you get to see all the hard work pay off at the end of the season at taper.

I'm looking forward to: all of the Big 10 conference meets. It's going to be a lot of fun and exciting to travel and swim against other big schools.

Alex Daw

St. Louis University, swimming

I'll remember: how close we were as a team. We would always push each other to go faster during practice and cheer for each other at meets.

I'm looking forward to: the yearly training trip in college.

Owen Goss

Colgate University, football

I'll remember: messing around with the guys in the locker room, after practice in the training room and making all of those memories. I'll definitely miss this group of guys the most.

I'm looking forward to: suiting up for my first game at Colgate and just taking it all in for the first time. I'll definitely be a special moment.

Anna Gruvberger

Cornell University, swimming

I'll remember: the friendships and memories I made in my four years. For me, it's hard to remember all the specific time adds and drops, but it's impossible to forget the times that I laughed so hard with my teammates that our stomachs hurt and we teared up, or when we cheered so loud for each other that we lost our voices. Our team spirit is unparalleled and it was an honor to be a part of such an amazing program.

I'm looking forward to: swimming in our conference against the other Ivy League universities and thriving off the innocent yet intense rivalry between all of us. Who knows what this year will look like or when the next time we'll even be able to have these competitions, but I still can't wait to be a part of such a close and amazing team.

Owen Hare

Franklin & Marshall College, lacrosse

I'll remember: playing varsity lacrosse my sophomore year. All of the upperclassmen were extremely welcoming when I made the team and they demonstrated to me how to work hard and play as a winner. I would like to say that they set the tone for the work ethic and not playing for yourself but instead the team. I think I'll always use that mentality, whether it be on or off the field.

I'm looking forward to: competing with a completely new set of guys who have a different kind of talent. East Coast lacrosse is much different than that of the Midwest, West Coast, etc. Those guys are gritty. They hit hard and they play hard. I want to further adopt that style of play with those guys and build an extremely strong chemistry with the team.

Ryan Isaacson

Merrimack College,


I'll remember: how close we were as a team and how everyone competed day in and day out to get better.

I'm looking forward to: competing at the highest level to really elevate my game.

Tom Jurack

University of Illinois, baseball

I'll remember: competing with a great group of guys against a strong conference.

I'm looking forward to: working hard and competing with other universities in the Big Ten A goal of mine would be to get to the College World Series.

Caroline Kotarski

Baylor University, tennis

I'll remember: our love in representing Hinsdale Central, home of the Red Devils, and playing schools who would tell us they wish they could be on our team because we were like a family. I'll also never forget all our trips to state and winning those two years and placing either second or third the other years.

I'm looking forward to: having that same tight bond with my teammates in college, and I can't wait for all the meets because cheering one another on as we play is the best support.

Berkay Ozgen

Widener University, swimming

I'll remember: how some of the older guys brought me right in when I moved here and I made a lot of really good friends.

I'm looking forward to: getting better at my sport and competing at a new school.

McKenna Revord

University of Missouri, cross country/track & field

I'll remember: how much preparation went into getting ready for the races. Everyone on the team gave it their all in practice so they would be at their best when it counted. I also remember how intense the atmosphere of the meets was and how deep the competition was. Illinois is an elite running state and there were always people in the races to push me to my limits and become a better runner.

I'm looking forward to: taking my running to the next level. With college running comes much harder practices and more commitment, but I am excited to see where it will take me. I'm happy to be teammates with my sister (Reilly) again and making more memories running with her. I'm also looking forward to meeting my new teammates and working together with them so it gives me a reason to not give up during the hardest parts of the races.

Lauren Ridgway

DePauw University, volleyball

I'll remember: hanging out in the locker room with my teammates before games or practices.

I'm looking forward to: meeting new people and having new coaches and working toward my goal of becoming an All-American.

Alex Simon

Augustana College, baseball

I'll remember: how I became an independent athlete. My coaches at Central really helped me become not only a better player but a better person. During high school I slowly drifted away from strictly depending on coaches to make me better. I learned that I have the biggest impact on what kind of athlete I become. Our spring season got cut and I haven't been able to see my coaches since March, but I can't send enough gratitude for helping me become the person and player I am today.

I'm looking forward to: competing at a higher level of play at Augustana. I've learned this summer playing in the Midwest Collegiate League that there are little differences in the style of play in college ball compared to high school. But even though the style of play is different, I've learned that baseball is still just baseball. I'm excited to see where I'll be in four years after college and can't wait to see the player and person I become.

Ethan Turner

DePaul University, soccer

I'll remember: how competing at Hinsdale Central was a completely different experience for me. Growing up playing club soccer, the goal was always to first become a better player and progress. Once I entered the high school level, I was shocked to find how different the mentality was. Although we pushed development and success, winning was not absolutely everything. We focused on camaraderie with our teammates and most importantly being a better human being. Therefore, for me, my greatest memories were the countless days I spent making lifelong friends with my teammates and taking time to reflect on myself and become a better person.

I'm looking forward to: receiving a great education, becoming closer to my new coaches and teammates, and playing and winning the NCAA Division 1 tournament.

Emma Watcke

University of Wisconsin-Madison, cross country/track & field

I'll remember: the amazing team culture that I was a part of and being supported by great coaches, Coach McCabe and Coach Richards.

I'm looking forward to: traveling around the country with my teammates to compete and experiencing everything that the university and Madison have to offer.

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean