Aiden Ramos playing football. Credit: Cal Poly Athletics

Less than 2% of high school athletes will go onto play sports at a Division-1 level: the talent pool is stronger, workouts are more constant and the pride and will to win runs deeper.

But with fall sports approaching quickly, these four freshmen are ready for a new chapter, both personally and athletically. 

What drew you to Cal Poly?

Aiden Ramos

5-foot-10, 205 pounds Running Back, will be making his way up north from Covina to join Cal Poly Football.

Ramos committed to the Mustangs last September. He acknowledged that the coaching staff and the San Luis Obispo community helped him to reach his decision.

“I had never met a staff that was as genuine and real with me as they were at Cal Poly,” Ramos said. “I had some long conversations with Coach Wulff about what direction the program was going, it was something I wanted to be a part of. On top of that, I knew I’d be walking out with a great degree and the community loves Cal Poly so I was excited to help build the program that they support.”

Bailey Bracha 

Bracha plays for Cal Poly Women’s Soccer while hosting SJSU for an exhibition. Photo by Owen Main

Clovis native Bracha is looking to add some firepower to the already explosive women’s soccer team.

“I was more excited than nervous to attend college, but there definitely were some small nerves about missing home, friends, and family,” Bracha said. “Being away from home but still having people that make it feel like home…The team was so welcoming when I visited.”

Parker Owens

As another addition to the young and upcoming men’s soccer league, Owens is 1,500 miles away from his hometown of Southlake, Texas.

Photo by Owen Main

“Learning by doing is crucial to me in the learning process,” Owens said. “I also really enjoyed this city since it’s predominantly resident to college kids and there is so much to do.”

What are the biggest differences from athletics at the high school and college level?

“The biggest difference in football is the game speed. Everyone’s a little bit bigger, faster, and stronger, so the game moves quicker,” Ramos said. “Coach Gibson, our running backs coach has really helped me in film study and working on my own technique. Things like that have helped me slow the game down and perform better during camp.”

Emma Fredrick 

Fredrick is coming from Bakersfield and is preparing to make a big impact for the Mustangs women’s volleyball squad.

“The intensity and dedication it takes to be a college athlete, all of your time is put into your sport,” Fredrick said.

College sports can be humbling. Many athletes come in and expect to be the star in college like they have been on most every team they have played for, it’s a time to learn and grow.

“You aren’t the star player anymore,” Owens said. “Everyone around you is on the same skill level. It helps you become better as an individual and team player while sharpening your skills.”

Where have you leaned for support in your transition to college?

When talking about the transition from highschool to college, Fredrick credits her teammates for making it a  seamless and comfortable one. 

“I wasn’t too nervous to attend college until it came time, to be honest I was so excited to start this new chapter of my life,” Fredrick said. “Honestly my teammates have made this transition super easy and comfortable.”

Fredrick at Cal Poly’s Volleyball Practice. Photo by Owen Main

The nerves may creep up when so far away from home but as the team connects, the confidence grows.

“Obviously there were some nerves coming in but once I started playing with my teammates and gaining confidence most nerves went away,” Owens said.

To calm her nerves, Bracha looks to her older teammates for advice and guidance for her first year.

“The returners shared things with me they wished they would’ve known when they were freshman,” Bracha said. “Hearing them open up showed me that they all went through the same thing I’m currently going through and that they are a great resource to go to.”

What does an off day look like for you?

Off days are limited for Bracha and many of her fellow student athletes, but rest is necessary for physical and mental recovery.

“On an off day, I like to hangout at the pool at Poly Canyon Village with my roommates and teammates during the day and then head down to the volleyball courts later in the day,” Bracha said. “Just relaxing and doing chill activities to give our bodies some rest.”

Owens understands what his body needs and prioritizes his body on an off day.

“Being in and around the trainers and eating nutritious food,” Owens said. “Nothing is more important than recovering your body after a long week of training.”

Off days can also be utilized to get ahead and prove to coaches and teammates that you are willing to give it your all.

“I’ll get a light lift in and work on my mobility to help me feel fresh for the week,” Ramos said. “I like to watch practice films of different running backs in college or the NFL to see what I can learn from them.”

College is fast approaching for these freshmen, who will represent their new home for the next four years.