Lukas extends athletic career into college with D1 commitment

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Lukas extends athletic career into college with D1 commitment

Senior Abigail Lukas signs her letter of intent to play Water Polo at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Senior Abigail Lukas signs her letter of intent to play Water Polo at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Senior Abigail Lukas signs her letter of intent to play Water Polo at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Senior Abigail Lukas signs her letter of intent to play Water Polo at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Alexis Naddy, Assistant Features Editor

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Seniors have decided where they plan to attend college, if they do, and what they are planning to study. Abbie Lukas, a senior and member of the girls varsity water polo team got the opportunity to make her decision differently than most other students, as she was offered the chance to continue her water polo career at George Washington University in Washington D.C., which is a NCAA Division 1 program.

Since freshman year, Lukas has had the goal to play in college and has occupied herself in making sure she gets the opportunity.

“Freshman year I found out I was pretty decent, and I loved it so much and could not picture life without it,” she said.

Ever since then she has put in the time and effort to make sure she reached her goal.

“The recruiting process is like a marathon,” Lukas said. “It has to start in the middle of sophomore year, and you have to be really persistent in talking to coaches.”

While GW was the college she ultimately picked, many others reached out to her, also expressing interest in both her academic and water polo skills, which she acknowledged as a big accomplishment.

“I have dedicated a large amount of time into it,” Lukas said. “It’s pretty hard, especially when you’re from Illinois and not somewhere where the sport is widely played, like California.”

After the few years of hard work she put into her recruiting process, she was finally offered the chance to play at GW in October of last year, and after thinking deeply about her decision, she accepted it this January.

Referring to other schools that reached out to her, Lukas said that, in the end, they didn’t compare based on the classes offered and some other factors that affected her decision.

“GW had a brand new biomedical engineering program that really stood out to me,” Lukas said.

When she was weighing the pros and cons of her decision, she also looked at factors that went further into her future.

“I am excited for higher level water polo, but I am also really excited for all the job opportunities I will get being in D.C.,” Lukas explained.

However, in the end, it was her choice of major and GW’s great academic reputation that ultimately led to her decision.

“GW has biomedical engineering, and it is a relatively new program for the school, so they have state-of-the-art technology in their facilities,” Lukas said.

In addition, she mentioned that the college’s water polo team itself also helped in her decision-making process.

“The coaches and the girls on the team were outgoing on my recruiting trip, so I felt at home. It is also in the heart of Washington D.C., which is one of my favorite cities,” she said.

When it comes to the requirements of remaining eligible to compete in the college season, she isn’t overly worried.

“The NCAA requires a 1.9 GPA to be eligible, which is super low in my opinion, and I hope to never have those grades,” Lukas said.

She also added, “As a student athlete, I hope to keep my GPA above 3.0. I am not too concerned about it because I have a good work ethic, and there are resources put in place to help me.”

She continued to address the academic aspects of her future college experience by explaining that GW is a good academic school and that she has no doubt it will be challenging. However, she said she is super excited and that she is willing to put in the proper amount of work and time into her education.

Lukas also explained that GW has a series of programs that are specifically designed to assist student-athletes balance their time.

“I have been assigned an athletic adviser, who I have already met with, and they help schedule my classes around practices and games, in addition to finding free tutors and other resources that I will be able to use.”

She also has to meet a minimum of six hours spent studying in the athletic center every week to make sure she stays on top of her commitments.

Lukas, while excited for what her future brings, is also sad about leaving members of her high school team behind.

“They have pushed me and motivated me so much; I would not be where I am without them,” she said.

Her teammates also speak highly of her, as a person, student and athlete.

Elizabeth Krauss, a junior who is a member of the team said, “Having Abbie as a teammate shows you a whole new side of her. Not only is she successful and hard-working in the classroom, but she also transfers that into the pool. She has been a major contribution to both the swim and polo teams.”

Carolyn Westgate, senior on the team, also commented on Lukas’s work ethic.

“Abbie is an amazing teammate to have,” Westgate said. “She always does whatever it takes to win, and that’s something our team needs. She is also good at keeping our goofy team focused on our goal, which is to go to state.”

Her teammates also want her to make sure she enjoys every moment of this experience.

“One piece of advice I have for Abbie is to keep up her enthusiasm and never stop learning; those are truly some of her best qualities,” Krauss said. “Getting to the next level brings so many opportunities, so I hope she doesn’t forget to stop and take it all in.”

Lukas’s teammates aren’t the only people she is thankful for.

“I am so thankful that my coaches have believed in me, helped me and given me the opportunity to play in college,” she continued to also mention her parents. “They have been super supportive in driving me to all the practices and sending me all over the country for competitions and combines.”

While on the topic of her high school water polo experience, Lukas shared her favorite moments from the four years she spent on the team.

“I will always remember when the team made it to sectional finals after having two really bad losing seasons,” she said. “My coaches will definitely be what I miss the most from high school season because [they] are definitely some of the funniest people I know.”

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