Sheaffer to attend Bloom

Sentinel photo by BUFFIE BOYER
Juniata High School’s Sydney Sheaffer, front center, signs her letter of intent Wednesday to play track and field at Bloomsburg University. Joining Sheaffer are, from left, front, parents Jim and Sue Sheaffer; back, Joe Skura, JHS athletic director; Kim Hart and Dave Portzline, track and field coaches; and Ed Apple, JHS principal.

MIFFLINTOWN — Bloomsburg University was home to Sydney Sheaffer’s parents Jim and Sue, as well as her older brother and an older sister.

Now Sydney will call the campus tucked in Northeastern Pa. home this fall.

Sheaffer will be the latest to don the burgundy and gold colors of the Huskies, signing her letter of intent to be a high jumper for the school’s track and field team. She will be majoring in elementary and special education.

“I was familiar with the place since I was little and I just loved it ever since,” Sheaffer said.

Sheaffer placed fifth in the state in the high jump this past spring at the PIAA Track and Field Championships, with a 5 foot-4 inch hurdle.

Family was certainly a selling point for Sheaffer, but says there were other factors that went into her decision.

“I always had it my mind, I never thought I was going to make it, but ever since last year, I always had it in mind that I wanted to do track and field in college,” Sheaffer said. “I just looked at Bloom and it was really nice and the coaches were really nice to me and I was excited about that.”

Juniata coach Kim Hart had a feeling it would not take much convincing on behalf of the Huskies to lure Sheaffer to the Columbia County school.

“When the coach (Bernie Empie) called me to see if I thought Sydney would be interested, I said to him ‘I think she would be very interested because so many people in her family had gone there,'” Hart said. “They invited her for a visit and she loved it. She definitely is worthy of that caliber at Division II, and she proved that to herself.”

Sheaffer suffered an injury her sophomore year when hitting her head off the horizontal bar, having to get staples. Despite any fear she may have had in jumping after that accident, Hart made sure Sheaffer participated in the next meet.

Luckily, physical elements of sports were never much of an issue for Sheaffer. She did however have an obstacle to conquer — herself. Thankfully a happy ending to her season fixed a lot.

“She was a little leery about it at the beginning of the track season, but she’s a hard worker and such a perfectionist that it sometimes led to self doubt,” Hart said. “Then when she saw where she finished in districts and in states, she knew she belonged [at Bloomsburg] and I think that helped ice it and the visit came at the perfect time shortly after the strong performance.”

Sheaffer still has a full season to give to the Indians before beginning her new journey at Bloomsburg, and wants to make sure it’s just as memorable, if not more than her junior year.

“I really hope to get back to where I was last year and keep going from there, and get even higher than that,” she said.