Senior athletes commit to college athletics

By Spencer Kummer, Staff Writer — College athletics is a fit for a select few people to continue playing the game they love. Less than six percent of high school athletes in the country go on to compete at the college level.

National Signing Day on Feb. 3, was a big day for three athletes: Hannah Watson, who has committed to play volleyball at the University at Buffalo, AJ VanVoorhis, to play soccer at Western Michigan University and Raymond (Austin) Wayt to play football at Slippery Rock University.

The commitment these student-athletes have made to the sport of their choice has required countless amounts of time and effort. They each began playing their sport at a young age and trained to be able to compete at the next level.

VanVoorhis, has had a successful soccer career playing for a club. He has played soccer since he was 3 years old and never looked back. With VanVoorhis committing to play club soccer he was unable to play for the soccer program at the high school because of conflicting schedules. VanVoorhis was still able to take on kicking for the football team. Soccer has been a part of VanVoorhis’ life day in and day out.

“The weekends are designated for games and week-days are for training,” VanVoorhis said.

VanVoorhis’ journey will continue at Western Michigan University as he plans to major in biology on a pre-med track. VanVoorhis takes his studies very seriously and that is what has helped VanVoorhis reach his goal of playing Division I soccer for a profound program.

“It is a blessing to have a Division I offer as that is rare for soccer players,” VanVoorhis said.

Austin Wayt has become a decorated athlete here at the high school earning five Varsity Letters while playing two sports, baseball and football. Wayt has chosen to go on to play football at Slippery Rock University in the fall of 2016. Wayt has played the game of football since he was in second grade and looks to continue his journey for four more years along with majoring in marketing with a minor in business administration.

“Slippery Rock offered me something that I could not pass up,” Wayt said. “This has always been a dream for me and now it is a reality.”

Wayt has played Offensive Guard for the Golden Eagle football team the past three years but, will test the position of center at Slippery Rock. This position will best fit Wayt’s size and athletic ability. Slippery Rock University is the one place that caught Wayt’s eye and allowed him to make his decision.

Hannah Watson is amongst those who signed to play volleyball at the next level. She has committed to play volleyball at the University at Buffalo and earned a scholarship for not only her ability on the court but also in the classroom.

Watson has played volleyball for the past eight years both at the national level and high school level. This past summer Watson won the 2015 AAU 17 Open National Championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports and earned her fourth letter playing volleyball here at the high school. Watson had offers from a variety of colleges but, Buffalo was the one.

“I went on many visits and Buffalo captured my heart,” Watson said. “I fell in love with the campus and coaching staff.”

Watson plans on majoring in exercise science and earn her doctorate in physical therapy. Volleyball runs in the blood of Watson and will continue through her journey at a Division I program and a prestigious school.

“I am excited to play in the MAC Conference and continue what I love,” Watson said. “This is a huge blessing and a dream come true.”

[Updated Aug. 19, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]