Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Committing in COVID

Posted 02/18/2021 by Avery LoJacono

Photo Caption: TJ athletes celebrated their future of collegiate level athletics on annual Signing Day. photos by Anne Rice

Even in uncertain times, these Spartans hold a steady future.

Early mornings in the pool, long days in the gym, and cold nights outdoors are no match for senior athletes Caitlin Beery, Madysen Bradley, Lauren Reid, and Avery Shunneson. As COVID-19 has taken most of their season away from them, these athletes’ determination to continue their passions shows true Spartan values. On February 2nd, these students committed to their future universities full of good intentions.

These four students have put in hours upon hours of hard work, as Bradley—a Long Island University commit in gymnastics—would say, “16 years in a sport is a lot of dedication.” Their hard work has allowed for them to create a future with their passion, making it all worthwhile. While high school sports have given some of the students the opportunity to compete against new faces, competing at a higher level with experienced athletes will give them even more opportunities to grow in their field. “I’m looking forward to competing at a high level in track and learning from the great throwers and coaches at Princeton,” Shunnenson said, who will be attending for the shot put track and field event. 

While each recruiting process is unique in many ways, the students are all thankful for the support they have received from their family and friends. “My family has supported me since day one, and throughout this process, I really needed people to lean on,” Reid stated. She will attend the University of Maryland Baltimore County for soccer. Choosing a school that is fit for each student is hard for anyone, but having schools wanting you makes the decision even more difficult. 

Thomas Jefferson High School has allowed for some of these students to participate in their sport at the varsity level. Beery, who committed to swim at University of New Mexico, recently placed second at the CHSAA State Championship in 2020. Their high school seasons have given them the opportunities to play against new teams and have new teammates. While COVID-19 has taken away many parts of their season, they still continue to play hard. 

This pandemic has taken away parts of their season, but also has restricted their ability to visit their future schools. “Without visits, I worried that I would choose a university and then show up on campus and not enjoy it,” Shunneson echoed. Though this pandemic has presented many challenges to these athletes, this did not stop TJ from giving them the signing day they deserved. The students were all able to have a small, socially distanced crowd to attend their short speech and celebration of their new future. “One thing I’m thankful for through the committing process is the administration at TJ, specifically our athletic director Ms. Rice, who’s celebrated my successes and put together an awesome signing day,” said Shunneson. 

With bright futures ahead of them, these Spartans want to remind their peers to stay positive if they chose the recruitment path. Committing to a sport takes time and dedication, but as Bradley would say, “Anyone is capable of achieving their dreams, you just have to want it bad enough.” The TJ community congratulates these students for all of their hard work and wishes them luck on their next steps outside of this school.