LONGMONT -- The recruiting process, and then coming to a subsequent decision, is tougher on some athletes than it is on others. Though signing at the same time, Shelby Keil and Sarah Cousins took two different routes down the recruitment trail.

In a secluded room in Silver Creek High School, among a smattering of friends and family, Raptors seniors Shelby Keil and Sarah Cousins signed their national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers in college. Keil will play softball at the Univeristy of South Dakota and Cousins will play lacrosse at Adams State.

During the recruitment period of her journey to become a Division-I softball player, Keil said there were plenty of times she doubted whether she would every accomplish her goal.

"It's always tough because you're playing under so much pressure," Keil said. "At one point, I felt like it wasn't really for me, like it was for someone else. I had to get back to that point and it feels awesome when your hard work finally pays off."

Keil caught the South Dakota coaches' eye at a showcase tournament in Chicago. Keil the South Dakota education program, in which she hopes to pursue a degree, was a major factor in her decision.

In the end, Keil accomplished her Division-I goal.

"I've played since I was four years old and it's awesome to get that dream because I've always wanted to play D-I softball," Keil said.

Cousins' recruitment was a much more agreeable one.


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Cousins plays defense for Centaurus High School, the host team for Boulder County schools' combination team. The Warriors made it to the state semifinals each of the last two years.

Cousins first played lacrosse during gym class at Altona Middle School, thought the game was fun and went to Play It Again Sports and picked up a stick. After passing around with her father, who had no background in the sport, she began playing competively in eighth grade and went on to play all four years in high school.

Shelby Keil
Shelby Keil (Matthew Jonas)

After attending the Adams State lacrosse camp, Cousins grew comfortable with the coaches and players. Her father also lived in the Alamosa area so she has plenty of family friends and is already comfortable living there.

She said Adams State was a fairly easy decision and on Wednesday, Cousins finalized her decision to continue her lacrosse career with the Grizzlies in Alamosa.

"I can't imagine not playing lacrosse in college," Cousins said. "It's such a big part of my life and I love it so much I'm so excited to play in college."

Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi