At Presentation, we are surrounded by girls with many different talents and accomplishments. We are challenged by the smart women in our classes, and cheer for the amazing athletes that play for our championship-winning teams. But very rarely do we meet people who excel in both academics and athletics at the highest levels.
Kaia McCaul and Carolyn Skotz are two Pres seniors who are headed to play softball for Ivy League schools after they graduate. They have excelled in both academics and athletics, and Pres girls can learn a lot from the wisdom that comes from their journey.
Both Kaia and Carolyn started playing softball at an early age.
“I just tried all sports when I was a kid, and I grew up and softball was just the one I stuck with” says Kaia about the beginning of her athletic journey.
From there, both played for recreational teams before eventually moving onto travel softball teams, and making the Varsity team at Pres their freshman year. They continued to play Varsity at Pres, and on their travel teams, when Kaia was recruited by Columbia, and Carolyn by Yale.
Kaia was recruited in the summer of her sophomore year. She attended a camp at Columbia with her sister, which was followed by the coach of that camp coming to see her play for her club team, and eventually recruiting her to play or Columbia.
Carolyn’s recruitment happened during her junior year and the summer after, and this past fall she committed to Yale.
With all of these accomplishments in athletics, one would think that they focus all of their time and energy onto softball, but both say that is not the case.
“Honestly, school is my priority” says Carolyn about her focus on athletics versus school. “There’s never a time that I sacrificed school for softball” Kaia agrees.
Although they may have never sacrificed their academics for their athletic career, both say that now that they are headed to college, they have an equal dedication to both areas. Other student athletes can learn a lot from how they maintain a balanced lifestyle without sacrificing things like sleep.
“I don’t think we sleep less,” says Carolyn, “we just have to really time manage a lot, and try not to get stressed out”.
But managing everything has not always come easy, and was something they really had to pick up in high school.
“[The biggest challenge has] probably been time management. Just freshman year and learning how to do time management” says Carolyn.
Attending an Ivy League school is definitely a great reward for all of their hard work and dedication, and both Kaia and Carolyn humbly say it’s not something they anticipated.
“I never expected it to happen, but then it just kind of happened” said Kaia.
Both had other schools in the running, as you would expect for such high-achieving athletes and students, but both said they were mainly focused on the schools they will be attending.
When making the decision to attend these schools, both say that academics was the more influential factor. They also say the East Coast location, with Yale being in New Haven, Connecticut and Columbia in New York City, was a factor in where they decided they wanted attend.
Many lessons can be learned from Kaia and Carolyn’s experiences as student athletes, and some from the game of softball.
“To persevere and just to keep going” is a simple one that Kaia has taken away from over 10 years of playing softball. Carolyn added that “Accepting failure” is something else she has taken away, as you don’t win every game in softball.