News from Falcon Student Media

The Perch

News from Falcon Student Media

The Perch

News from Falcon Student Media

The Perch

First wave of students commit to compete at colleagiate level

Seniors Maria Camposano, Michael Kourakos, and Daniella Perez-Cartaya, as well as junior Remi Bacardi, recently committed to Division I colleges for their respective sports.


Even though she’s a junior, Remi Bacardi recently verbally committed to the University of Virginia.

“I am super excited and proud to be committed to UVA,” she said. “I am extremely lucky to have a great support system that helped me reach this goal and will continue to help me with my ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.”

Bacardi started playing golf first for fun when she was 5 years old after trying out the golf lessons her country club was offering.

“It quickly turned from a hobby to my full-time sport,” Bacardi said.

A golfer since she was 5, Remi Bacardi recently verbally committed to UVA despite only being a first-semester junior.

“I belong to a country club that offers golf lessons so I started playing for fun,” Bacardi said. “It quickly turned from a hobby to my full time sport.”

Due to Bacardi’s commitment to the sport, she has a different school schedule. She attends half of her classes in person and does the other half online.

“My schedule with school is very unique,” she said. “I take a class online during the summer so that I can have two free periods during the school year back to back. This way, I can leave during the day to practice. I do like training so intensely for golf because I love the sport.”

According to Bacardi, her intensive training every day hasn’t affected her negatively. She actually enjoys how much she plays since it is her passion, and way to disconnect from everything else.

Although Remi has verbally committed to UVA, she had many universities offer her a place to study. Offers typically come at the end of a recruiting visit, and when the recruiting window officially opened, she had almost 30 schools reach out to her.

“Thankfully, I was fortunate to have already visited many schools over the years that enabled me to narrow down the universe of schools I would be interested in taking it to the next level,” Bacardi said.

Sofia Agostini contributed to this section.


Senior Maria Camposano verbally committed to Brown University in Rhode Island for track and field.

Her running career began freshman year when she joined the track and field team. Caposano has, since then, focused her energy on balancing being a student and an athlete, improving more and more every year. The sprinter’s best event is the 100m hurdles.

“My goal from the start was to find a D1 school where I will be academically challenged while being able to continue my track and field career. I was looking at my options, Brown was the one school that really checked off all the boxes and feels like the best fit for me,” Camposano said. “It honestly feels surreal, I never imagined going to an Ivy, but I am so excited and can’t wait for next year.”


A Northeastern University commit, senior Michael Kourakos has been rowing since his sophomore year, averaging 25 hours of practice a week. He was a struggling student as he is neurodivergent and has ADHD so he said he had to work harder than other students just to get his work done, let alone be an exceptional student.

At first, Kourakos couldn’t find a sport he enjoyed, he said, but he wanted to channel his competitive energy somewhere. It wasn’t until “fate” brought him to Miami and a classmate recommended the rowing team.

“Little did I know that I had walked into the most challenging team sport in the world. Days in, I almost quit, blown away by how physically demanding it was; however, one day, we used the rowing machine as part of our learn-to-row sessions, and I was the fastest,” Kourakos said. “A kid who had failed and underachieved his whole life, under the belief that because he was different, he couldn’t succeed, won something for the first time.”

The physically demanding sport became his new hyperfixation, he said: He applied the discipline he gained from rowing and slowly but surely, it turned his life around. He began getting better grades, winning state championships, and even gold metals.

“Rowing has changed my life in two years more than some people change at all; to the point where I am still unable to recognize myself.” Kourakos says, “This sport has given me the most extraordinary opportunities and made me into the person I am today, and for that, no matter what happens in the sport, I will forever be grateful.”

Now that he has reached the collegiate level, surpassing any expectation he could have set for himself growing up, his dreams now lay in the next level. He aims to enter selection for the US national team within the next year, but he has not forgotten his roots and is extremely grateful for everything his sport has given him.

“I don’t want to tell my story for praise or pity, and although only a few people know of my sport, the lessons it has taught me are priceless. I want people who were once in my spot to see that they are not victims of their situation and are entirely in control of their lives. I am still new to the sport and this new version of myself, and every day, I am still trying to understand it. However, I will embrace whatever the future holds for me with open arms and utilize the lessons this sport has taught me in every aspect of my life. “


Cross country regional champion and state medalist senior Daniella Perez-Cartaya committed to Amherst College for track and field.

She started running her freshman year and has been working hard, practicing every day after school and going for long runs on off days. Her best event is the 1600 (mile) and she placed first in the regional championships for the 5K.

After getting injured her sophomore year, Perez struggled not only to get back in physical shape, but to regain her confidence.
“I thought I would never recover and lost all my confidence for what I loved to do,” said Perez. “Getting back from injuries, it takes a while to get back into your old self which can be mentally draining”
She didn’t let this end her career, she got back into training and preserved. After expecting to never recover, she came back her junior year of high school and with this new motivation and broke three records, placed in the top 10 at her States Championship, and ranked second for girls her age in Florida for the 1600m.
“Although mental blocks and setbacks can tear down athletes it can also be a catalyst for motivation.” Perez says, “it definitely taught me the most important aspects of running and still to this day leads me to achieve all my goals.”
Perez said that the recruiting process was an “amazing experience” that filled her with appreciation and gratitude for the support she has received.

“In my hope to continue growing as a collegiate athlete, I aspire to give back the same support I have received while achieving my goals of breaking records, qualifying for championships, striving for team success, and pushing my body past its limits through intentional hard work,” Perez-Cartaya said.

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