Washburn Junior Day attracts future Ichabods

Junior Day was held by the Washburn Ichabods football team Mar. 29.

About 85 junior highschool students from various schools in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado attended the event. Check-in was held at the Washburn Indoor Athletic Facility, and after a welcome from the coaching staff, attendees were invited to tour the university.

Junior Day is an important day for high school student athletes and their families, as it is the kick-start for the recruiting process.

“Choosing where to study is a unique decision and probably the first major decision these young people will make,” said Craig Schurig, head coach of the Washburn team.

For this reason, participating in Junior Day is fundamental for students and their families to become informed and make the best choice for their academic and professional future.

While talking about the football program, Schurig reminded the attendees what the three pillars of the team are, and what the coaches are looking for in the athletes: physical, smart and relentless. Schurig also warned that often in the recruiting process, paying too much attention to social media can make things more difficult and discouraging.

“You hear ‘This guy is going here,’” Schurig said, “‘This guy’s going there. He has been offered by 10 schools, I haven’t been offered by anybody yet.’ Just be patient. Patience is a strong virtue. Just have confidence in yourself. If you are not getting those offers yet, hey, you got your senior year that is the most important year anyway. Okay, so believe in yourself. Believe in what you can do. Take care of business academically.”

Getting to know the team’s philosophy, meeting the coaches personally and getting familiar with the university was a valuable opportunity for each of the participants.

“The importance of an event like this is just getting students here on campus. One is breathing about it, hearing about it, watching a video about it, but to be physically here to actually see it unveil. That is just a special moment, not just for the students and parents but also for us,” said Emilio Chavez, Washburn admissions counselor.

For Chavez, moments like this are the key to a good relationship and the success of student athletes, since it allows them to know what the goals of the student are and are then able to work together to make it happen.

Angel Gonzales, mother of Christian Gonzalez, nose guard of Shawnee Heights High School, Topeka, summed up in a few words what she would like to find in a school for her son. And for many parents, that is the most important thing.

“Good education,” Gonzales said.

Christian Gonzalez said that he seeks, in education, a complement to his football skills, where he knows he could take care on the field and off it.

To achieve these goals, the university must have the highest academic standards. For Schurig, the beauty of this school [Washburn] academically, is that it is an institution of higher learning, where the professors teach – instead of only research – and they know the students by name, not as a number.

He also emphasized the good communication between coaches and professors.

“They talk to the coaches. He [student athlete] also struggled in his class; he needs to get help. So, all those things we have a great relationship with the professors in the administration here at Washburn,” Schurig said.
When it comes to structure, Washburn University is a reference for having a compact and accessible campus.

“That is what we love about this campus. That is why our athletes stay here; they love it. That is why a lot of our coaches, the majority of our staff, played here and they stayed here,” said Josh Osborn, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

The Junior Day event at Washburn was complete and immersive. After the coach’s welcome, parents and students were invited to tour the university facilities, such as the Indoor Athletic Facility, Morgan Hall, Lincoln Dining and the dormitories.

“Everything looks so new, fresh and clean,” said Roy Anderson, grandparent of two student athletes, “I’m really impressed.”

One of the last stops on Junior Day was the weight room at Whiting Fieldhouse, where everyone could see on the walls of the gym the jerseys of a former Ichabods that made it to the NFL, and that for the Washburn program, they are like trophies of a continuous dedication.

After the tour, attendees were invited to watch the football team practice directly from Yager Stadium’s field.
The next step for those interested in studying and playing in Washburn is to attend the Ichabod Prospect Camp, which takes place June 15. Registration is now open at wusports.com.


Edited by Glorianna Noland and Aja Carter