Post-Graduate Year: Colin West’s Recruiting Experience


Amy Morin

Shannon Clark '23, Co Editor

“It was really kind of a blindside.”

Colin West, a senior at WHS, thought he had his post-graduate plans all figured out. Then, the brutality of the recruiting process changed his plans.

Starting when he was five years old on the Green Thumb tee-ball team, West simply fell in love with the sport. As time passed, West’s passion deepened. For as long as he can remember, he intended to play college baseball. His plans suddenly halted, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic canceled West’s sophomore season and shortened his junior one — two crucial seasons in recruiting. Not only did the pandemic affect the time West had to develop on the field, but it also interfered with the waves of recruits for colleges, because of the additional year of eligibility for current college players.

Nonetheless, West made the best out of his situation and received two serious offers from Salve Regina and WPI, along with some interests from state schools. WPI peaked his interest, so West attended their camp, had multiple phone calls with the head coach, and was told that he would be the starting shortstop on the team if he applied early action. 

“I wouldn’t say I thought I had a shot, I would say I thought I was committed, basically,” West explained. 

But when two months passed without hearing from the head coach and he received the rejection letter from WPI, West was advised by his club coach to think of a different route. 

West recalled, “I was pretty frustrated,” as he was stuck between wanting to play at a high level and wanting to find a school that was academically challenging enough. 

Fortunately, West’s club coach knew the head coach at Worcester Academy who told West they would love to have him for a Postgraduate (PG) year. A PG year is essentially reclassifying for seniors:  playing another season of a sport, developing as a player, and improving one’s GPA are all benefits of taking a PG year.

West recommends a PG year to athletes who want more options of where they could play in college and students who want to improve their grades so that they can reach a higher academic school.

“I think that it’s a good option for anyone who needs another year of development [before college],” he suggests.

For West, the PG year is a bittersweet decision, as it is for most high school seniors when they think of their post-graduate plans. West says he will definitely miss Advanced Journalism class, and hopes there is journalism at Worcester Academy.  He also says he is going to miss his friends and teachers at WHS.

As a senior, West does confess, “That’s definitely one of the hardest parts: knowing all my friends are going to college and I’m still waiting back another year. But I think it’ll all be worth it in the end.”

That being said, West is also quite excited for his move to Worcester Academy. Boarding at his new school will definitely be an adjustment for West, but he is excited to play with his new teammates. Out of all the new changes, West is most looking forward to the intense competition at Worcester Academy to best prepare him for his future in baseball. 

Surrounding the concept of stigma around a PG year, West responded that he thought there was a bit of stigma, but mostly because many people don’t understand what it is. In conjunction with the competitive nature of Westborough’s post-graduate plan elitism, West added, “You don’t really think of [a PG year]: you either go to college or get a job.” 

Despite having to defend his somewhat unconventional step for a WHS senior to some people, West doesn’t have any regrets, “It all worked out for me and I think it will all work out for everyone, even if it’s super stressful sometimes.”

Although he hasn’t completed his recruiting process just yet, based on his experience thus far, West advises, “always have a backup plan” and “get started on the recruiting process as early as possible because it definitely sneaks up on you.”

 Additionally, West says athletes can’t be afraid to reach out to schools they are interested in: “They aren’t just going to find you.”

Most valuably, when discussing the college search, West stresses, “It doesn’t really matter the name of the school, as long as you find a place that you’re happy.”

Admitting his bias prior to answering, West believes the recruiting process, in general, is unfair, particularly in the digitalized age. 

“You could recruit someone off a video and then not see them in real life. There’s a lot of luck involved,” he shares.

West is referencing the highlight videos many athletes create to send to schools they are interested in. He thinks that it is unfair to the other potential recruits that just because someone knows how to choose their best clips, they are chosen over a player with more skill. Baseball especially is known for the ruthless recruiting process at the major, minor, and college levels.

In terms of West’s future aspirations, he would ideally like to attend and play baseball at Colby College while majoring in psychology. After college, West hopes to work in a field pertaining to psychology while coaching baseball.

For the short-term plan, West is dedicated to his continued growth as a player. In addition to the more rigorous competition next year at Worcester Academy, he is looking forward to his new 70-minute free period at Worcester Academy that he will spend in the weight room. 

He is also looking forward to focusing solely on baseball at his new school as opposed to being a two-sport athlete by running indoor track and playing baseball at WHS. Plus, West says his club team, Northeast baseball, will help prepare him over the summer and in the winter.

As for this season, West remarks, “I think we’ve got a great team and I think there’s a very high chance that we could win our league. I think we could make a run [in the state playoffs] as well.”

West is one of the captains of the WHS baseball team this season along with fellow senior Jake Ritacco. West plans on leading the team to a win over St. John’s, defeating rival Algonquin twice, and winning the league. Personally, West is striving to be a league all-star. With his versatility, West may earn this title as a shortstop, second baseman, third baseman, or even center fielder.

When asked about his favorite part of baseball, West says “slow rollers in the infield” — a typical shortstop response — and that the game doesn’t have any clocks so it “goes at its own pace.” 

From there, the subject of pitch clocks arose, to which West emphatically jumped to baseball’s defense and responded, “I don’t like any clock in baseball ever. I’m just like a traditionalist like that. I also hate the extra-inning runner rule. Like where does that runner come from?! It makes no sense.”  

With that said, he does concede that batters should keep a foot in the box at all times.

Contrarily, the hardest part about baseball for West is the failure aspect of baseball. He describes how easy it is to get in a slump, but also that with the right swing, you can get out of it instantly. 

The coach who impacted West the most is his club coach, Coach Kruger. 

“We still have the best relationship,” West explains, “He’s super caring and he always helps out with my recruiting or any questions I have…He’s like a father-ish figure to me.” 

Westborough’s home opener is April 13 at 4:00 p.m.versus Shepherd Hill.