Columns & Blogs

A school year filled with talent and highlights

State College boys track and field team take a victory lap with their trophy after winning the team title at the PIAA State Track & Field Championship at Shippensburg University on May 28.
State College boys track and field team take a victory lap with their trophy after winning the team title at the PIAA State Track & Field Championship at Shippensburg University on May 28. Centre Daily Times, file

A thought occurred to me the other day, as I scrolled through a list of names I had just typed into my computer: We had a pretty cool school year for high school sports in Centre County.

The season was brought to a close a couple weeks ago, and in fine style.

In the last game on the last day of high school competition, the season wrapped up with a state championship.

The Bellefonte baseball team took care of that, winning the PIAA Class AAA title.

The year also included two more state titles and a bunch of other deep runs in PIAA tournaments. Plus, we also had a few athletes pick up individual state championships, saw a bunch of school records fall, and had our fair share of District 6 titles.

Yes, the 2015-16 school year was a memorable one.

What started the pondering was compiling a list of college commitments by area high school athletes who are planning to compete in college.

The list is probably not complete — we do not hear about every single choice — but it is nonetheless impressive.

At last count, 59 boys and girls who graduated from high school this spring plan to compete on college varsity teams.

In the other years a list was put together, the average was about 50.

Seeing 59 young men and women heading off to college teams, from five public high schools and three smaller private schools, is downright astounding.

And, by the way, there were a few other athletes who probably could have succeeded on the college level, but chose to focus on academics instead.

The choices are big and small, from the East Coast to the Rockies.

The list, as always, includes a handful who will be going to Penn State in a variety of sports. But the list includes other Big Ten schools, like Indiana, and other major schools like North Carolina, Louisville and Pittsburgh. There are small schools too that many likely have never heard of, like Jamestown, in North Dakota, and St. Anselm, in New Hampshire.

Many are staying in the state, like Juniata, Shippensburg, Lock Haven and Grove City, but some are heading far away like the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Some are going to Ivy League schools like Penn and Cornell, or choosing a military life at The Citadel.

Plus, we had a girl score 2,000 career points in basketball — fewer than 200 girls have done that ever in Pennsylvania in high school — who is headed to Connecticut, the best women’s basketball program in the country.

Yes, we had some talent on our courts and fields, running, jumping, throwing and shooting.

It produced a memorable year that included state championships for the St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy girls’ cross-country team — the first team title in the school’s short history — and for the State College boys’ track and field team. Oh, and the diamond gems from Bellefonte.

It was a pretty good year, a successful year, a surprising year, an entertaining year.

It made this job pretty challenging, but fun as well.

Gordon Brunskill: 814-231-4608, @GordonCDT

  Comments