Umstead Commits to Play College Level


Photo provided by Robert Hill Photography

Joy Stansell, Staff Writer

Many have probably seen Calloway Umstead in the R.J. Reynolds halls or dominating the game on the lacrosse field. Umstead, a junior, has been playing on the varsity lacrosse team at RJR since freshman year, and has recently committed to play collegiate level lacrosse at Lander University.

“I first picked up a stick when I was in first grade, about ten years ago,” Umstead said. “I knew I wanted to play in college when I first started playing club lacrosse. Traveling to play the sport I loved set me on the path of wanting to play at the collegiate level.”

With COVID-19 still changing how everything will work, it has been a challenge for athletes like Umstead to be able to find and meet recruiters, when the rules and regulations are subject to change.  

“It definitely was more difficult getting to colleges for prospect and tours than it normally would be,” Umstead said. “Junior year was when I really started looking to further my career in lacrosse, so it was all very new to me even with the COVID-19 restrictions.” 

Deciding which offers are more important compared to others can be difficult, but Umstead was able to make a decision after touring a couple of them. It helped her get a feel for both the school and team’s environment and chemistry, which made the decision clearer.

“Every school I toured and did prospect, I loved, but how I decided was seeing the teams play, and the atmosphere they have on and off the field,” Umstead said. “The [Lander] campus is a really good fit for me, and I can see myself really enjoying my education there.”

Knowing how to present your game highlights and when to look for recruiters can be difficult or even foreign for some, but Umstead has some advice for anyone looking to reach out to the recruiters.

“Reach out as soon as you can, and do not limit yourself to one college,” Umstead said. “Also coaches love to see films and live play, so email was definitely a tool I used during my search.”

Umstead has been playing club lacrosse for a few different teams over the years, and has found that  playing club has helped her to improve her skills and game performance. 

“Club has helped me change my game tremendously,” Umstead said. “Seeing the different levels and skills my teammates were on made me want to improve my game. Also traveling and seeing how competitive the game can be helped shape my club team.”

From when Umstead first started playing to where she is now, she has continuously challenged herself to improve and develop new techniques.

“Staying consistent in my future was the biggest challenge,” Umstead said. “As well as always pushing myself during the off season to continue to grow in the sport, but looking back I’m so glad I stayed with it[lacrosse].”

During that off season, as a defender, Umstead uses much time training to keep her endurance, stick skills, and footwork in shape, which is important for her position and overall game. 

“Staying consistent in my future was the biggest challenge, and always pushing myself during the off season to continue to grow in the sport, but looking back I’m so glad I stay with it[lacrosse].”

While Umstead will have another season before graduating and attending Lander, she is excited for a new chapter and to continue to build on her successes.

“I’m looking forward to the community and atmosphere of the [new] team,” Umstead said. “I have always loved every team I have been on, and I’m excited to be a part of this one. Also, to have a new coach to continue to teach me about the sport.”