Q&A: Maroon Interviews Senior Athletes about Signing Day

Amelia Liu

November 10, Signing day, recognizes athletes’ accomplishments by officially committing them to their desired college. In mid-November, senior student athletes Sedna Gandhi, Olivia Franco, and Haley Matusz ’22 signed a contract and secured scholarships to top schools. Below, the three share their experiences playing competitive sports.  

Maroon: What sport do you play and which school are you going to play for? Did you play this sport at SHS?

Sedna: “I do fencing, and I’m going to be at Notre Dame… Unfortunately, Scarsdale doesn’t have a fencing team, but I train at the Fencing Academy of Westchester. Before COVID, I fenced almost everyday for at least two hours, but now I have to slow down because of injuries and because school is speeding up.”

Olivia:  “I play lacrosse, which I am committed to, and play for the varsity team at SHS. I have been on the team since freshman year, and I have gotten to play with my older sister and now younger sister, who were on the team. I also play field hockey also, but my season just ended. I will continue my lacrosse career at Catholic University in D.C., which is 6th in the country for D3 lacrosse.”

Haley: “I play field hockey and lacrosse at SHS but I’ve committed to play lacrosse at the collegiate level for Boston University. I played on the varsity lacrosse team at Scarsdale for four years which has given me so many good friends and memories!!”

Maroon: How did you start playing your sport? What are some of your proudest achievements? 

Sedna: “I have a twin brother, and he was really interested in fencing. At first, I actually didn’t really enjoy the sport, but I stuck with it, and I started doing well. I’m proud of what I’ve done. Actually two years ago…I was in France fencing a World Cup… and I got third there, which was crazy. I think that was one of my best results. Recently, this past season, I’ve done super well. I got third in Division I, which is the hardest event. It’s the Olympic Hall of Fame list. Tomorrow, I’m going to a senior World Cup… the top 12 travel internationally, and I made top 12 after some good results, so I’ll be fencing an event in Estonia.”

Olivia: “I started the sport in 2nd grade, and at first I was unsure about playing but my sister played, and I wanted to try something else other than soccer at the time. To get recruited, I joined a couple of club teams and traveled all over the country to showcases and tournaments. Then, [I] made varsity freshman year at SHS and became a defensive starter.”

Haley: “I’ve played lacrosse for 9 years, and I’ve been on numerous club teams such as Revolution Lacrosse Club, Grizzlies, Westchester Elite, and Sound Lacrosse.”

Maroon: How did you become interested in college sports? 

Sedna: “People always ask me if I started fencing for college, and it’s just not the case. That actually never went through my head when I started… then Notre Dame came on the radar, and it’s one of the top three fencing schools in the country.”

Olivia: “When deciding you want to play in college, you have to know in 9th grade to start the process of recruiting. I fell in love with lacrosse and wanted to play in college. My sister also inspired me because she plays in college.”

Haley: “I knew I wanted to play lacrosse in college since around 8th grade because I felt so empowered and so happy every time I stepped onto the field. One of my favorite types of relationships in the world is relationships with teammates and having that camaraderie to play with so much fire and putting in your all to win. I personally think that’s a special experience that everyone should experience, and I’m so blessed I get to have these experiences for another 4 years. Being on a team requires having chemistry and being a team player, and when we can all play cohesively it’s so beautiful, and what it’s all about. Being able to have this community within the sport I love for four more years is really a dream.”

Maroon: What was the recruiting process like?

Olivia: “The process for college was very stressful since freshman year. [I spent so much time] going to showcases and tournaments on weekends, [and] hundreds of hours… emailing coaches and creating highlight tapes. With all of that done, I only had to apply to one college. I still have to keep up my grades, but now I am less stressed. The process of getting seen by my coaches and getting the school you want is a lot of work and a huge accomplishment of mine, especially with covid. “

Haley: “During covid, this process consisted of Zooms, lots of film, and coaches were locked in what was called a “dead period” where they couldn’t come and watch you play. This resulted in many barriers in order to really feel the campus and team as a prospect and feel how you as a person would fit into the school. Luckily, I found my home at Boston University, where I felt their warmth and positivity flooding from off the screen. After the recruiting process everyone made an effort to meet each other which was such an awesome experience.”

Maroon: How has the recruiting and sports experience been for you?

Sedna: “It’s been really fun, and I love the sport and just want to continue it. Fencing isn’t something I do for college; it was for me.”

Olivia: “I loved… meeting new people, traveling, and playing the sport I love. I kinda miss it, but it was very fun!”

Haley: “The recruiting process was awesome because I got to meet people of all walks of life that poured their heart and soul into the sport I loved, which was really wholesome, but the recruiting process is a lot similar to the process of applying to colleges and a similar type of stress. Both exciting, but definitely a lot of work and energy towards the goal of ending up at the place you fit best. I’m so grateful I had a support system to help stay focused and driven during these complicated and unprecedented times where the recruiting process was difficult to navigate.”