Living arrangements, social life and academic workload all change significantly for a student transitioning from high school to college. Balancing new study habits with a new extracurricular schedule can be a challenge.
But for Catalina High School athlete Dillon Cox, it will be a relief.
The multisport athlete earned his final Iron Trojan award earlier this month. The award is given out each year to athletes who letter in three sports.
The senior took it home and set it on his dresser alongside the other three. Cox has competed in 13 varsity sports seasons in his time at Catalina, all while participating in the academic honors program.
"It's pretty impressive he has been able to keep up with everything, especially since he also took a tough academic program and he stuck with it," said tennis coach Mary Menager.
Three cool things about the 17-year-old Cox:
1. He began high school as a one-sport athlete. A soccer player since age 4, Cox tried golf and tennis and then football during his junior year.
That same year, he was shooting golf scores in the low 40s for nine holes. His freshman year of tennis, he lost every match, Menager said.
"But he just kept working on how to stroke it correctly, topspin, getting his feet in the right position," she said. By his junior year, he and close friend Gaston Yescas made it to the 4A-II state semifinals in doubles. This year, he made it to the quarterfinals in singles.
2. Soccer is his No. 1 sport. Soccer remains closest to Cox's heart, and it helped him get to college.
Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., a southwest suburb of Chicago, offered Cox a 50 percent scholarship, and through additional grants and loans, and a summer job, he will accumulate the remaining $14,500 needed for his first year.
3. He's clear on his future. Cox will major in exercise science and hopes to become an athletic trainer. He has taken sports medicine classes at Catalina, which have already helped him on the field. He sprained his ankle in the first round of the state soccer tournament last year, and knew immediately what to do.
"I'm CPR certified, first aid certified and all of that," Cox said. "I know how to wrap someone's ankle when they sprain it. When I sprained my ankle in that game, I knew exactly what happened and how to take care of it. I told my coach, 'I'll be back in about two weeks.' "