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Email, Tryouts, Time Management: Visiting Pennsylvania Sports Teams


Freshman guard Isabel Gomez (right) defends freshman guard Simone Sawyer during the Red & Blue scrimmage at Palestra on Oct. 29. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

As a Division I institution, Penn prides itself on being competitive in many sports. The recruiting behind building these strong teams is a nuanced process in itself, from reaching potential prospects early and maintaining relationships with strong high school athletic programs. However, many of the University of Pennsylvania’s most successful sports teams have some walk-on his athletes on their rosters. People who were not committed or recruited before coming to the pen.

Teams with larger rosters are more likely to accept walk-on athletes in cross-country and wrestling. Two freshmen walk on her athletes, women’s basketball points her guard Isabel Gomez and men’s heavyweight rower Coxswain Hayley Kim join the team after receiving acceptance from Penn University I explained my experience when I did.

Both Gomez and Kim kept in touch with their coaches long before they set foot on campus. As soon as Kim was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania, he emailed the coaches of all his three rowing teams: men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s rowing. After some contact, Kim decided to focus on the men’s heavyweight team. She called her coach several times before arriving on campus and she was officially invited to join the team.

While the University of Pennsylvania Crew team welcomes walk-on athletes more often, the men’s heavyweight team typically welcomes less players. Kim was the only freshman in the first few weeks of the season.

“It’s very difficult for heavyweight teams to do walk-ons because there aren’t enough walk-on coaches who are completely new to the sport,” said Kim.

Gomez’s journey into women’s basketball was a little different. Gomez said that during her senior year of high school, she contacted the coach of the girls’ basketball team, she realized she wanted to play college basketball, and she became interested in Penn as a school.

Penn’s basketball teams also typically maintain small rosters of less than 20 players, so the process of joining a team requires lengthy tryouts.

Tryouts began the first week of September and lasted about two weeks. Gomez spent her entire summer training in anticipation of tryouts this fall and her hard work paid off when she made her squad.

Gomez felt welcomed when she started, despite onboarding after the summer, when the team usually finds time to interact with newcomers.

“I felt welcomed as soon as I entered the team,” Gomez said. “I’m really happy that I passed. It’s a great community and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Being a University of Pennsylvania student-athlete takes a lot of responsibility and good time management. As players make strides, whether they have time to figure out their job is a big factor in their decision making. Penn doesn’t dictate specific times in the academic schedule for sports practice or club activities, so athletes need to coordinate their times wisely.

Fortunately, as the team’s conductor, Kim has to attend only the morning practice, not the afternoon practice.

“All my rowing practice is in the morning, so practice has managed the class so far,” said Kim. “Not having to attend afternoon practice has helped a lot.”

Gomez also described her experience balancing classes and practice schedules, even though the women’s basketball team isn’t in the middle of the season yet.

“It’s been an adjustment to balance classes, but we’re trying to stay organized to make time for everything,” Gomez said.

The walking process for Penn State sports teams varies by sport. Walk-Ons for All Athletic Teams at the University of Pennsylvania His athlete will not only have to adapt to joining pre-established teams and rosters, but he will also have to manage a demanding academic schedule with his new schedule. This requires an incredible amount of discipline, organization and adaptability. Only a select few have enough diligence and determination to face it.

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