Earlier this year Aberdeen Cougars Senior Mikayla Santjer committed to Post University in Connecticut to play Division I Hockey and Division III Golf for the Eagles. In doing so she became the first Cougar to commit to playing DI Hockey. Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Mikayla on her Journey.
What made you choose Post University?
I picked Post University because I will be able to play not only hockey but golf as well. I also picked Post because of the campus size, there is only 800 students at post which makes the teacher to student ratio very appealing especially since I plan on being a veterinarian. Also the location of Post helped with my decision because there are a lot of hiking trails and outdoor activities to do around campus.
What does it mean to you to be the first Aberdeen Cougar that will play Division I Hockey?
Being the first Aberdeen Cougar that will play Division I hockey means everything to me because not a lot of kids make it playing South Dakota hockey and I hope me being able to play in SD all of my career gives kids hope that they can do it as well. It means a lot because throughout the process of being recruited, people doubted me and my abilities to play and knowing my future coach believes me and wanted me to play for him, is just an amazing feeling.
How do you feel the Aberdeen Hockey Association Prepared you to become a DI College Athlete?
I think the Aberdeen Hockey Association has helped me develop as a hockey player and has opened doors to opportunities outside of the association that has benefited me and prepared me for college hockey. The association has also helped me realize that hard work can go a long ways.
Traveling around the country with the Cougars and Team South Dakota, what would you say is the overall impression of Hockey in South Dakota?
When I first meet people and I tell them I play hockey in South Dakota they kind of laugh and think its a joke. Not very many people believe that kids in South Dakota can play hockey and be good. But after a while some people get used to it and the idea that some of us know how to play.
What would you tell others who dream of playing DI Hockey someday?
I would tell them that if they want to play d1 hockey that they need to play on as many teams as possible, train, and study a lot for school. Never give up, even when people doubt you because all you have to do is prove yourself on the ice. Anything is possible, if you just believe in yourself and put the work in.
Throughout her years with the Cougars Varsity Mikayla was a part of 3 South Dakota State Championship Teams including a 71-1 league record over the past 3 seasons! We would like to wish Mikayla the best of luck as she finishes out her senior year and heads east!