A student athlete's path to Colgate University – Q&A with RCS Senior Meaghan Houk

What was your decision-making process in choosing Colgate University?

During the fall of my junior year, I had to unexpectedly change travel teams. I had initially played for a Schenectady-based team called the Infinity Shock. Due to the team coaches moving out of the area, it was recommended that I reach out to a travel team called the Rhode Island Thunder. After my tryouts with the club, I was selected to their 18U Gold team. The Rhode Island team allowed me to play and become noticed by college coaches throughout the country. Since eighth grade, I have been attending prospect camps and showcases and have kept in contact with various collegiate programs in the process. Being a 2021 graduate, I wasn't able to speak to coaches until September 1st of my junior year and being from a small town in the northeast, I wasn't exactly sure what kind of coaches would be reaching out regarding potential scholarship opportunities. However, on September 1st, an email expressing interest came from a Division I program.

At this point, I was having multiple conversations with a lot of good coaches and programs throughout the country. From Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to local community colleges, the opportunities were appearing for me. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to study or pursue academically, so I began to research and keep my options open moving forward. After some feedback from my coaches, past and present, I was providing colleges, universities and other programs videos of my games and my individual statistics. Colgate University came to watch one of my games in Florida (where I hit two home runs) and eventually scheduled a visit for my family to view their campus. The trip to visit Colgate University was fantastic and I committed to playing for their program on December 24. I’m excited for the athletic and academic challenges that Colgate University will provide, plus they have a strong sense of community at the school. I am looking forward to playing softball at the Division I level.

How long have you competitively played softball? What does playing softball in college mean to you?

Since I could remember, I’ve grown up on a softball field. Before I even started playing, my sister played for a local travel team in Bethlehem. I did a lot of watching and learning. I have played at the recreational level since I was about 3 or 4 years old, and I always played with girls who were older than me. When I was 10 years old, I played for the Bethlehem travel team which was my first glimpse of competitive softball, and then things really took off when I joined Infinity Shock when I was 12, which was coached by Megan Sauville and her husband Dan. I wouldn't be half the player/person I am today without those two individuals. I certainly wouldn't be playing softball at this level if it wasn't for them. I didn't really understand the concept behind college sports until freshman year. Through hitting lessons and throwing programs, I started putting up some pretty crazy numbers and I think that is when I realized that playing Division I softball wasn´t just a crazy dream, it could become my reality. I typically train at least 2-3 times a week on top of academic studies and my job.

There have been a lot of tears, lack of sleep, and hard work and it just goes to show how much it has paid off. I just remember back to when I was little throwing the ball in the backyard and how far I have come since then, it is really crazy. I am excited to earn a degree from a well-respected university, while playing the game I love. It really is a dream come true. The odds are tough to be selected to play softball at a Division I level. On average, only 8.4% of all high school softball players go on to play softball at any level in college and 1.6% play at the Division I level. I’m incredibly proud that I’m a part of the 1.6%

What do you plan on studying at Colgate University?

I am currently undecided on what I’ll study. As far as my future goes, I know that I want athletics to be involved, whether that is more on the business side or physical training side. The dream career would be to coach a high-level collegiate program, but I am pretty indecisive so that could change. 

What do you recommend to RCS students when choosing your future? 

You are not defined by what others think of you. We clearly come from a small town, but that doesn't have to shape your future or your goals. I have had a very strong support system that believed in me, and that meant way more than any negativity coming from others. I will definitely stress to find something that you love and don’t stop until you get there. It will take a lot of hard work and it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Also, just don't become a person who lives off of excuses. You are only cheating yourself. 

Do you have any items to share on your experiences at RCS? Teachers, coaches etc.. 

I am excited to represent RCS when I go off to Colgate in the fall. I’ve been doodling and scrubbing softball quotes and whatnot on schoolwork since Pre-k. It is somewhat rare that we send a kid off to play at the highest level of college athletics and I am really proud to be a part of that, especially for softball. My sister, Ashley Houk, played softball at RCS with Haley Irvis, who plays Division I softball at Long Island University Brooklyn. I grew up watching her play, so it is really cool that I will be continuing on the same level as her. I want to thank Coach Schipano for taking on the softball program with the help of Paul Irvis. Without their assistance, I’m not sure we would’ve had a program. I am really hoping that we get our last softball season this fall. This sport has meant so much to me. I really want to play a part in reshaping RCS softball. It isn’t well-known for being the strongest program, but I truly hope that changes in the coming years. I have played on Varsity with my fellow Co-captain Caitlyn Gallagher since 7th or 8th grade while the program was still under Mr. Miller and Ms. Roberts, and we just really want to see the program do well, and have a lot of hope for a fun final year. Throughout my years at RCS, there have been so many teachers who have noticed my passion for softball and really supported me along the way. I have had a lot of conversations with Ms. Sawyer, Ms. Passman, Mr. Henry and Ms. Foley. I am forever proud to be an RCS Indian. I hope I can make our school proud, as I continue my academic and athletic journey.