The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

WIS seniors commit to play sports in college

Liam Byrne ’21 saving a shot during a recent water polo match.

Three WIS seniors have committed to play Division III sports next year. Liam Byrne will be playing water polo for Pomona College, Mia Chao is set to fence for Wellesley College, and Tatiana Clinton will be joining the Colby College soccer team.

Despite this year’s untraditional college recruitment process in which campus visits and gameplay were halted, Pomona is a strong fit for Byrne, the 6-foot-2 goalie out of McLean, Virginia.

“I really love the atmosphere at Pomona, and the coaching staff is incredible. While it is a Division III school, Pomona competes with all the top teams in the country, which means I can enjoy the Division III commitment to academics and essentially Division I athletics,” Byrne said.

The school plays in conjunction with Pitzer College and together, the Sagehens compete against the likes of UCLA, the University of Southern California, and UC Irvine, where his older brother Aidan currently plays. Byrne is thrilled by the high level of competition and the prospect of carrying on his family’s success in collegiate athletics.

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“My goal is to be a third generation national champion, after my grandpa won a national championship for Auburn football in 1956, and after my Dad won a national championship with Brown sailing in 1991,” he said.

Chao, too, had a more difficult recruiting process than anticipated due to COVID-19. The pandemic “completely wrecked” her season, preventing her from setting new personal records and maximizing interest from college coaches.

“Since I lost a lot of my opportunities to meet coaches at regional and national competitions, I had to do a lot of my networking via email and Zoom calls,” Chao said. “I personally mentioned in my emails the progress I was making via private lessons and Zoom classes to demonstrate that, despite the pandemic, I was still working my hardest to improve.”

With only 44 universities in the US hosting sanctioned fencing programs, Chao is excited by the opportunity to play at the collegiate level. Though, Wellesley’s strong emphasis on academics stands out.

“It was clear that Wellesley valued education above everything. Coach [Rob] Charlton made it clear to me that if I needed to skip a practice to study for a test or lab, accommodations could be made,” Chao said.

Clinton had a more seamless recruiting process compared to most. The Colby coach had evaluated her before the pandemic and even though she didn’t have the opportunity to visit the campus prior to her commitment, she knew it was the right fit.

Tati Clinton ’21 kicks the ball during a game for her club soccer team, Arlington Soccer Association.

“I talked to a few coaches, but the Colby coach really stood out to me because she was the only coach who was a woman and I’ve never had a female coach,” Clinton said.

The center midfielder played for four years on the WIS Girls Varsity Soccer team, winning three PVAC league banners and three PVAC tournament banners. She also competed at the club level for Arlington Soccer Association. Now, she will be taking her talents to the northeast, going head to head with other liberal arts colleges such as Williams, Tufts, and Amherst.

Whether in the pool, on the field, or on the piste, these WIS seniors are primed to make an impact in their respective sports. 

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