LEWISTOWN - Life is like a rope, intertwined in all its complexities and yet weaved into one marvelous stream that you can do amazing things with. Provided of course, you grab hold of it.
Megan Becker, Sarah Bonson, Sam Peters and Logan Snyder are four Mifflin County girls who have grasped the rope and are not going to let go.
A brand new start. An exciting transition into a new life. That's what awaits four young women who have decided to continue their education and sports careers in college by signing letters of intent at the Mifflin County High School media room Friday evening.
Sentinel photo by TIM SHUMAKER
Mifflin County girls, from left, Megan Becker, Sam Peters, Sarah Bonson and Logan Snyder comprise half of the school’s athletic scholarship contingent that was part of a celebration Friday at the school.
Becker and Bonson will continue their swimming careers at Mansfield, a Division II school, and Mount Saint Mary's, a Division I school from the Northeast conference, respectively. Peters is taking her field hockey skills to Bloomsburg on a D-II scholarship, while Snyder ventures to Shippensburg to play basketball at the same level.
By virtue of her name - the ceremony, which included honors for eight athletes in total, was conducted alphabetically - Bonson, who will major in chemistry at the Maryland University, was the second swimmer to announce her scholarship.
She is the first swimmer from the young Husky program to receive a Division I scholarship. As she spoke about it, she choked back tears while telling the room full of families that she had achieved a life goal.
"I hope to go out there and be the best person I can be, not only in the water, but being the best teammate. I want to improve upon myself as an athlete and a person so I can give back to my community," she said.
"When I first got on campus I loved it and I knew that was my school. When I got to the pool it just solidified everything else," Bonson said. "It's always been my dream. I know I can succeed in the program and the coaches are great.
Becker, who will major in communications, knew pretty early on that Mansfield would be her college of choice.
"The coach contacted me and watched me swim a couple times and I could tell instantly from meeting with her I would go there. She talked about how the team is really a family who watch each other's backs," Becker replied. "My goals are to better my times and be a contributing member of the team."
The impact of two girls getting scholarships on a young swimming program is not lost on head coach Connie Welch.
"These kids come up from the Y program and we need to recognize that," she said. "They came up in the Rec Park Summer League and the YMCA and these girls wouldn't have been where they are now without going through that, tough, aggressive training.
"They have set the standard for the program which is a really good standard for the kids to live up to. We are really going to miss their leadership. Both girls are good leaders and they will do great at the next level. My expectation is they will excel by leaps and bounds in academics and swimming."
Peters, the all-time leading scorer in the history of the sport in Mifflin County, will take her field hockey talents to a strong Bloomsburg program.
"I really like the program. I want to pursue nursing and they have a very good nursing program there. It's a beautiful campus," Peters said. "I've attended their field hockey camp for a couple of years and I really liked the girls there. I want to keep up and improve on the game I have now and try to play my freshman year."
Long-time field hockey coach Tish Maclay believes Peters will have no problem adapting to her new environment.
"I can't say enough about what Sam has meant to the program. She's a kid that always works hard. She puts everything on the field," Maclay remarked. "She wants to get it right and she's a great, positive role model for her teammates and the community. She leaves here as the career-scoring leader in Mifflin County history and that says a lot about her work ethic and talent.
"What she brings to Bloomsburg is a lot. She plays the left side. She is comfortable on the left side and that is a tough position to play. The best thing she brings to the table is her speed, her attitude and her work ethic. She is like a sponge. Sam just wants to soak up the knowledge and she will do whatever Bloomsburg wants her to do. It's a win-win situation for Bloomsburg and Mifflin County."
Snyder, who battled back from a devastating ACL injury in just eight months to have a solid senior season, will be playing shooting guard for the Red Raiders and head coach Kristy Trn.
"When I went to the campus it was really nice and pretty and I liked the fact that they weren't too big," the future business major said. "They're small but not too small. I really liked the scenery and the atmosphere. I took an overnight, the team welcomed me in, and I felt like they were family.
"My biggest goal right now is to get back to 100 percent with my ACL surgery. My knee is good and I'm going to play in summer league to get ready for the season."
Recently retired girls basketball coach Kevin Kodish called Snyder one of the truly special players he has coached in his successful career.
"Logan has always been a special kid and she just personifies that description this year after coming back from a torn ACL." Kodish said. "She didn't miss a practice. She was on the side doing what she could until she was cleared to play. She fought very hard to come back.
"Logan is a special person, a great leader, a great teammate, a great player and a great friend. She is going to be missed by this program and by me personally. She is one of the finest individuals I have coached in my 29 years. She will bring a great work ethic and great attitude. She will be welcomed by her teammates and coaches. They will love having her on the team."