Committed to the Grind

Committed to the Grind

Alyssa Gallagher, Sports Editor

Being a high school athlete takes time and hard work.  There are lots of high school athletes who have been playing their sport for a number of years.  Of course, these people have done a lot of practicing and have experience in their sport.  But what sets apart the experienced from the elite?  

For one thing, their dedication is above all others.  They may play their sport year round, practice on their own, lift, watch film, or have the blessing of pure athleticism.  All these factors combined produce athletes who play a level above.  Some of our senior athletes have done just that and have signed a commitment to play their sports at the next level; college. Let’s take a look at some of our college commits! 


Madison Gardner


Gardner has committed to Pitt Greensburg to play softball this upcoming year.  Pitt Greensburg is a division III school. Before committing, she had received offers from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and Geneva.  She chose Pitt Greensburg because she loved the campus and the girls on the team.  She also loved that the girls were welcoming.

“It was the perfect fit for me,” Gardner said.

She’s most excited about playing at the next level and playing with a new group of girls.  

Gardner decided to continue playing in college because of her passion for the sport. She enjoys playing and can’t imagine her life without softball.  

“I want to play as long as I can,” Gardner said.

In high school, Gardner played third base.  She plans on becoming a utility player in college.  

As far as advice for getting recognized by colleges goes, Gardner suggests to reach out as soon as you can.  She also suggests that you talk to different coaches.

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” Gardner said.



Paige Rodgers


Rodgers has committed to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise to play lacrosse.  UVA Wise is a division II school.  She had received offers from Robert Morris University (RMU), Niagara University, Lafayette, and a few others before making her decision.  She decided to play beyond high school because she loves playing, and she’s worked very hard to become the player that she is.

Rodgers believes that UVA Wise is the right school for her because she loves the atmosphere, the coaches, and the team.  

“I’m most excited to connect with my team and play at the college level,” Rodgers said.

She will most likely be playing midfield or defense, which is the same position she plays in high school.

To those who want to be recognized by colleges, Rodgers suggests that you make sure you have lots of help making your decision.  Deciding can be stressful, and the process can be tedious, but a good support system makes a difference.  She advises that you keep working hard and that you make sure you’re 100% certain of your decision.

Coaches, teammates, and other people off the field tend to be tougher on strong players.  The pressure to be a reliable and consistently above average player can be overwhelming and can cause them to reconsider playing.  If these scenarios are happening to you, Rodgers advises, “Never let the pressure of coaches or outside people make you lose the love and passion you have for your sport.”


Jake Murphy 



Murphy has committed to Slippery Rock University for football.  SRU is a division II school.  He had also received offers from Clarion, Notre Dame College, and Wheeling University.  He decided to play beyond high school to help pay for college.

Murphy chose SRU because they win and it’s a good school.  He will be a tight end in college.

He is most excited about having another family through the team.  

To underclassmen who are hoping to receive offers from colleges, Murphy recommends, “When you think you’re being annoying, be more annoying.”


Nina Shaw 


Shaw has committed to PennWest California for basketball.  PennWest California is a division II school.  She had also received offers from Slippery Rock and Chatham.  She committed early, so she didn’t receive any more offers.  

She decided to play beyond high school to have her college paid for.  She is excited to keep learning.  For Shaw, PennWest California felt like no other.

“Every time I went there, it felt like home,” Shaw said.

Shaw is most excited to build new bonds and to learn from the coach.  She will be a point guard in college, which is the same position she was in high school.  

Shaw admits that the commitment process is overwhelming.  To others who are hoping to be recognized by colleges, she said, “Deep down you can tell which one feels like home.  Think about, without the sport, if you’d still enjoy your time there.”


Congratulations to all our seniors who will be continuing their athletic careers in college!  Whether you signed a commitment or are walking on, best of luck to you and your future in athletics.