Seniors commit to college for athletics

As most senior athletes know, National Signing Day is an important one for aspiring college athletes. On Signing Day, athletes across the country sign letters of intent to attend and play for colleges of their choice. 

On National Signing Day, GHS had three seniors commit to continue their athletic and academic careers: Melia Gorrell for volleyball at Wheeling University, Anna Pritchett for softball at Marian University, and Jackson Watkins for golf at the University of Indianapolis. 

“I chose to go to Marian because they not only checked so many of my boxes, but it felt like a place I could really envision myself both academically and athletically,” Pritchett said.

Signing to a college can be a big deal for student-athletes that draws a crowd of supporters. 

“My parents, brother, grandma, and aunt were my family members at my signing. My school coach came and sadly my club coach wasn’t able to make it. I had five of my friends there who have supported me through everything. I am grateful for everyone who came to the signing and those who couldn’t make it,” Gorrell said. 

Being an athlete in college can be a commitment, but it allows student-athletes to advance in their sports beyond the high school level. 

“I hope that I just continue to improve and develop as a player and teammate every day,” Pritchett said. 

There are a number of reasons why athletes may choose to continue their careers into college: staying in shape, an immediate support system going into college, having a schedule to stick to in college, etc. 

“I think having volleyball in my life makes me better all around. Physically I am healthier, and it encourages me to have drive in everything that I do,” Gorrell said “I also feel like volleyball is a part of me. When I had wrist surgery, the thought of being able to play again is what got me through therapy.”

These future college athletes also have a number of personal goals they hope to achieve in the next four years.

“My one goal through my upcoming years is to win a National Championship as a hound,” Watkins said. 

Committing to a college to play sports means that these student-athletes had to pick what they wanted out of a college much sooner than regular students who have until the May 1 National Decision Day. 

“I was definitely looking for a college with a great biology department knowing that I wanted to major in bio,” Pritchett said. 

Gorrell committed in April of her junior year, so she knew what she was looking for fairly early on. 

“I wanted my college to have my major- exercise science. I also knew I did not want to go to a huge school. I wanted to go into a volleyball program that not only works hard but has fun while doing it,” Gorrell said.