For most student-athletes, senior year means the end of competitive sports. Whether they be soccer, wrestling, or lacrosse, sports are more than just a game. They teach sportsmanship, teamwork, and accountability – three very important values in life. Strong team bonds and a passion for a sport can make it very difficult to play in the last game, take the last shot, and walk off the field for the last time.
However, not everyone has to say goodbye. Those students taking their game to the next level get four more years of playing the sport they love. Being a college athlete requires unmatched dedication and sacrifice, and some NA seniors have stepped up to the challenge. Newark Academy seniors Nick Kotzen, Ali Elmasry, Nate Campbell, Lauren Hardman, Selah Dungey, and Konrad Czyzewski will continue playing at the collegiate level.
Nick Kotzen will take his forehand to Columbia University to play tennis next fall. Nick recently won both the singles and doubles title in the USTA Winter Nationals and looks to achieve more in the coming years with Columbia’s tennis team. Through the recruiting process, Nick was looking to balance tennis and academics. He says, “I did not want to sacrifice either, and I think I’m getting the best of both worlds at Columbia.” He looks forward to his college years as a tennis player, and says, “The guys on the team are great, and I love the head coach.” Nick will be joining his older brother, Alex Kotzen '19, hoping to take down opponents as a brother duo: “It’ll be fun to make memories with him and travel the country with him and the rest of the team.”
Ali Elmasry will join Nick as a fellow Lion at Columbia, where he will swim for the next four years. Ali has been a key contributor to the NA swim team’s success and has drastically improved and developed the program. The swim team went from a 6-7 record in 2018 to an 8-1 record in 2021, and Ali believes, “The team is the strongest it has ever been heading into the 2022 season.” At their recent county meet, Ali broke three school records in the 200 IM, 100 breaststroke, and 200 medley relay, and he is proud of his contributions to the team. Ali’s success is only a glimpse into what is in store for him at Columbia. As a Division I program, Columbia swimming will take Ali to the next level against top-tier opponents. Studying at an Ivy League school while swimming is a challenge that Ali is prepared for. He says, “NA swimming perfected my ability to balance multiple tasks in my day and is a skill that I hope to take to Columbia.”
Nate Campbell has one more season before he takes his lacrosse skills to Swarthmore College. Nate has been playing lacrosse since third grade, and he’s not stopping now. He plays both club lacrosse for Steps and high school lacrosse. Before he leaves Newark Academy, he hopes to develop the program and reach underclassmen. He says, “As more kids realize how much fun they could have playing lacrosse, then hopefully the team will improve in future seasons.” Looking at his next four years, Nate says he is “excited to play against and with better players while studying at a top-notch school.” Nate’s future at Swathmore is bright, both athletically and academically.
Another member of Swarthmore’s class of 2026 is Lauren Hardman, who will be playing field hockey. She finished her high school field hockey career with 28 goals and 5 assists and was the school’s top scorer during her junior year. Although she is off to do great things, she will miss the friends she made from NAFH. Lauren said, “I’ve made some of my closest friends from field hockey, and the memories I made with them will always stick with me.” Lauren is moving from one great program into another as the Swarthmore field hockey team will provide Lauren with what she is looking for: “a dynamic support system both on and off the field.”
Selah Dungey is off to UChicago’s track and field program, where she will high jump. As a freshman at NA, Selah broke the 17-year-old school record with her 5’3” high jump, and in 2021, she broke her own record. She holds five national titles and is only getting started. In her last track and field season at NA, Selah hopes to improve before competing at the next level. Although already committed to college, she says about NA track and field, “I still want to personally improve, which means get more personal bests or refine form and technique.” She will make the most of her last season here, and then put her heart and energy into UChicago’s program. Regarding her final choice to commit to UChicago, she says, “UChicago is a good well-rounded school and their values line up with mine. I also think that they have a good program that challenges and supports runners to improve upon themselves.”
The newest addition to Notre Dame’s fencing team is our very own Konrad Czyzewski. Konrad is a saber fencer and a leader both in and out of the Fencing Gym. He leads his team by example and improves his own skill while encouraging and supporting his teammates. Konrad values teamwork and says, “Although fencing is an individual sport, there is always a team standing behind you when you represent Newark Academy. I want the underclassmen to understand that they will not be successful as a team unless they push each other beyond their limits at every practice and every meet.” Along with teamwork, NA fencing has taught Konrad lessons that he hopes to take with him to Notre Dame. He adds, “Besides teaching me dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, the program has taught me how to think calmly under pressure. I hope to take this with me to Notre Dame because the teams will only be getting better and controlling the situation and my emotions is what will get me wins.”
These six athletes are off to do great things in the next four years, and Newark Academy wishes them the best of luck in all their future endeavors.
Photo Caption: Konrad Czyzewski, Selah Dungey, Nathan Drogin, Nick Kotzen, Nate Campbell, and Lauren Hardman on National Signing Day.