For most athletes who commit to playing their desired sport in college, their story starts the same. Most of the time, these athletes have been playing their sport since the young age of three or four. However, Sarah Pintel’s (‘19) story was written a little bit differently, but the results were still the same.
Pintel, a six foot four powerhouse, grew up playing basketball in seventh and eighth grade. Her height gave her a major advantage against all of the girls in middle school, and it looked like basketball would be Pintel’s chosen sport. However, one of Pintel’s seventh grade teachers introduced her to volleyball.
“She told me that I should play because she thought I would be really good. No one really plays it around here, so I decided to take up club volleyball,” said Pintel.
After Pintel took up club volleyball, she was hooked. A year later once she started high school, she knew she had to focus on what she was good at: volleyball. Her dedication to volleyball paid off as she landed a spot on the East volleyball team. The switch from basketball was a huge turning point in Pintel’s life, one that she was elated about.
“I really fell in love with volleyball and I knew I wanted to play in college. Volleyball is all year round and I didn’t have enough time to devote to basketball,” said Pintel.
Pintel’s strong work ethic lead her to become East’s outside hitter on the volleyball team. She follows a grueling practice schedule, one in which she practices six days a week in the fall for two and a half to three hours each day. On Saturdays, one can most likely find Pintel at a volleyball tournament, killing the ball. The tournaments last around six hours. In the spring, she plays club volleyball. Her team practices two to three times a week for two and a half hours at a time. Her summers are also filled with volleyball, giving her absolutely no off season.
Pintel’s dream of playing in college did not come easily. The long recruiting process included hundreds of emails to college coaches and long phone calls. She visited and spoke to many schools, including American University, Pepperdine University, University of Central Florida and University of California Santa Barbara. However, Pintel knew George Washington University (GW) was the perfect place for her.
“After visiting George Washington, I realized it checked off everything I was looking for. I really like the coaches, the players, the location and that it is a good school,” said Pintel.
Pintel is fortunate for all of the support she has received from her family, as well as her high school coach and club director, Scott Mooney, who she says got her to the point she is right now. Without them, she would not have been able to achieve all of her goals.
Pintel is ecstatic and extremely relieved to know where she is going to college as a junior. She cannot imagine things being different and thinks George Washington University is the perfect fit for her.
“I’m so happy that I picked the right place for me, a place where I can do well academically and athletically,” said Pintel.
Even though Pintel only started playing volleyball three years ago, her grit and determination pushed her above the rest. Pintel looks to spike the competition at GW, starting in 2019.