(Editor’s note: Kennett High seniors Sylvie Brustin, Santiago Ciro, Liz Cote Eva Drummond, Riley Fletcher, Hannah Frittenburg, Sophie Killeen, Trevor LaRusso, Natalie Shaw and Zach Smith, who all plan to play sports in college, recently took part in a Zoom chat in which they talked about what led to their decisions and they also offer advice to other student-athletes who might aspire to play in college. The Sun will be highlighting these Eagles over the next few weeks.).
Riley Fletcher loves to compete, whether it’s on the golf course, the basketball court or his favorite sport baseball. He enjoys the challenge of matching skills against his opponents.
Riley helped the Kennett High golf team to its first Division II championship last fall, and had hoped to guide the Eagles to the title in basketball in the winter. A tri-captain on the hoop team, Riley was looking forward to meeting Bow in the Division II quarterfinals before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season. KHS was crowned as one of six school runner-ups in basketball.
It’s baseball that the Madison resident is missing this spring. A three-year letter winner, who can flash the leather in the infield or make opponents pay with his bat, Riley and his teammates were title contenders going into the spring. He intends to continue his love of America’s favorite pastime when he plays baseball for Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.
• Can you tell us what led you to your college choice?
“When I was looking at schools and started to go on visits one of the last ones I went on was Thomas. Once I was on campus it just felt like home. I met some of the team and we all got together very well. The coach is amazing and I just knew instantly that it was the right fit for me.”
• When did you know you wanted to play beyond high school?
“I’ve always had the dream of playing college baseball. That’s always been the goal for me and it’s a crazy feeling knowing that I have achieved that.”
• What do you think is going to be the big adjustment for you in terms of moving from high school to collegiate athletics?
“I think a big adjustment is going to be the speed of play. Pitchers will be throwing harder and batters will also be hitting harder. I also think having new teammates will be a big change. Everyone on Kennett has been playing together for so long that it just felt normal to be on the field with them. I’m excited to create a new type of brotherhood with my new teammates.”
• Given the current climate with the COVID-19 virus, what are your coaches telling you about college this fall? Will there be soccer and field hockey?
“The coaches from my school are saying that they are planning opening school in the fall. I’m unsure about field hockey and soccer.”
• Can you imagine playing without any spectators?
“Playing without spectators would be interesting to say the least. I feel like it would take away from the game. I mean even in baseball fans are a huge part of momentum. I feel as if it would make games feel more like a practice.”
• If you could have played any other sport at Kennett, what would you have chosen?
“As a three-sport athlete I don’t think I would have changed anything about my high school sport’s career. I would like the thank all the coaches who have helped through the seasons and have made a big impact on me.”
• What advice would you give to other Eagles who may want to play a sport in college?
“I would tell them to not be afraid to work hard. Hard work comes with the ‘job.’ If you work harder than your competitors and even your peers there’s no limit for you. Also to reach out to coaches early. Even schools you aren’t necessarily interested in because coaches talk to each other. GET YOUR NAME OUT THERE.”
• Do you have a favorite moment in your high school sports careers?
“My favorite sports moment was making it to final four in baseball my sophomore year. We came in as the underdogs and proved everyone wrong.”
• Can any of you envision one day wanting to coach?
“I think coaching is definitely something that I look forward to after college. So many coaches have helped me along the way and that’s really inspired me to become one.”
• What are you missing the most during remote learning?
“I’ve really found that I’m missing the social aspect of school. It’s hard being in your house and not being able to see friends.
“I would also like to personally thank everyone who has helped through my years at Kennett. Every coach has taught me something that I still carry with me and will continue to do so throughout my life.”