As the school year progresses, many students begin to question what the next year holds for them. This is especially true for seniors. On February 5, 2020, students across the country participated in National Signing Day. This day is devoted to student-athletes to officially commit to their chosen universities. State High student-athletes, representing nearly every sport, gathered with friends and family to celebrate these students’ accomplishments.
Many of these students made their decisions to continue both their academic and athletic careers for very specific reasons. Evan Courts, senior, signed to play lacrosse at Gwynedd Mercy University starting this fall, and made his commitment because “the coach is awesome, and the group of guys on the team are awesome.”
The future communities these athletes are going to be part of largely impacted many of their choices.
Maya Bokunewicz, senior, signed to play basketball at Rice University because she was “drawn to the leadership of the Rice Women’s Basketball Program as [they] share ambitious goals for [her] future as a player and a student.”
Similarly, McKenzie Shannon, senior and future Messiah College Falcon, signed to play softball because of the welcoming community. “I loved the coaches at Messiah,” Shannon said. “Both the coaches and my future teammates were the determining factors in choosing to sign there.”
With such life-changing decisions being made, these students look forward to their new journeys with open-minds. “I am looking forward to becoming a better lacrosse player, as well as furthering my education,” Courts said. Gwynedd Mercy is a Catholic university located in Gwynedd Valley, PA, about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
Shannon will be moving to Mechanicsburg, PA this fall. She is most looking to “meeting new people and being in a new town.” All of the athletes that signed on February 5, besides senior Joe Nastasi who will be playing Penn State Baseball, will be moving out of State College.
In addition to starting her new career as a D1 basketball player, Bokunewicz will have to adjust to moving across the country. “I am looking forward to the new relationships I will be building with my teammates and coaches, as well as adjusting to living in Houston, Texas,” Bokunewicz said. She describes Rice as “a very high academic institution” where Bokunewicz can “compete in the sport of women’s basketball against top-tier athletes and teams everyday.”
As these student-athletes’ high school careers come to a close, they reflect on some of their favorite memories from State High. “I will definitely miss my high school coaches, as they have taught me so much over the years,” Bokunewicz said. “I will also miss being able to play with my best friends.”
Both Courts and Shannon will miss the relationships that have formed with their teammates as well. “I’ll miss the teammates that I have become close with most of all,” Courts said.
Signing day provided these student-athletes with the opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments and their future success.