Goals and Grit, LHS Recruited Athletes Jayden Bai and Lauren Martin

Atreya Mallanna and Samay Shah

Last fall, Lexington High School seniors Jayden Bai and Lauren Martin underwent a long college recruiting journey. 

Bai, a track and field athlete committed to Emory University, discussed the importance of junior year in the recruiting process. 

“I was a relatively late bloomer. I didn’t perform at a competitive level until the spring of my junior year. I got my first college letter in the winter, but after I placed at states and made it to bigger meets, I started receiving a lot more letters,” Bai said. 

Martin, a softball player committed to Lesley University, corroborated Bai’s experience. 

“It mainly started in junior year, and that’s when I started reaching out to coaches, emailing back and forth, and being active on social media because that’s where coaches see you,” Martin said. 

To reduce his stress levels and gain a diverse skill set, Bai competed in a variety of track and field events. 

“I think what helps me stand out is my flexibility over different events. I run the hurdle events but I also have scored points for the team in the 4x400m, 4x200m, high jump, and pretty much all the sprint events,” Bai said. 

In addition to versatility, Martin emphasized the importance of self evaluation, rather than external factors, such as what college recruiters think. 

“If I’m just playing in the game and not worry about [recruiting], that’s where I play hard and focused and do well, but if you’re worried about what college coaches are there and stressing out every single time you’re gonna make a play or do something well, then it’s just going to mess up your head and not go as well as you hope,” Martin said.

These strategies helped Bai and Martin manage the recruiting process effectively last fall. Now that they have been recruited, they recognize the importance of committing to the process.

“A highlight was finally it being over and knowing that my hard work has paid off, and I actually achieved something while doing it,” Martin said.

Looking back, these student-athletes stress the importance of staying determined and goal-oriented during their high school athletics journey. 

“My best piece of advice is to set your goals and stick to them. The first step to attaining goals is to truly believe in them, which is something that had framed the way that I approached each race I ran. It means that athletes will sometimes have to put their head down and practice their craft,” Bai said.