Athlete Spotlight: Ella Utschig
By Peri Kahn
White Plains High School has a reputation for strong athletics, often sending their athletes to play their respective sport at a collegiate level. Even though the year is only a quarter over, there are already members of the senior class committed to play sports in college, one being Ella Utschig, a softball pitcher who will attend the University of Pennsylvania next fall.
Ella has played softball since she was 10 years and has been a pitcher since then as well. Growing up in White Plains Little League, everyone wanted to be a pitcher, but those who stuck with it are few and far between.
At 10 years old, Ella had no clue softball would take her in the direction of college, but as she got older, she realized how much she loved the game. She said, “I fell in love with how competitive it was when played in the south,” so she knew she wanted to keep playing for as long as time allowed. Five years after her little league debut, at the age of 15, Ella began her college search.
At first, her heart was set on Boston College. That was her dream school. But if there is one thing to know about the recruiting process it is that it is a journey filled with many unexpected twists and turns. Even though she loved Boston College, Ella could not just have one school on her list if she wanted to go to a strong Division One program, so she started to expand her options. As a part of growing her list, she contacted the coaches from UPenn. After a short time talking with them, Ella fell in love with their coaching staff and knew that it was where she wanted to go.
In the fall of her junior year, after working hard on and off the field, Ella committed to continuing her education and athletic career at UPenn.
Although Ella has her college selection set in stone, the path to where she is now has not been easy. Sports are supposed to be an outlet for support from both teammates and coaches; however, Ella experienced a severe lack of support from her one of her coaches. He told her that she did not have a chance to play in college. How could Ella be confident in herself if a coach did not believe in her? Not only was the lack of support an obstacle in Ella’s journey, she often struggled with severe migraines and missing school which added stress to her recruiting process.
Nonetheless, Ella has reached her goal and become a part of the 2% of high school athletes who go on to play in a Division One program, showing all the people that doubted her for her size and skill that they were wrong.