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West Students Commit on April’s National Signing Day

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West Athletes commit to athletic careers beyond high school.

West Athletes commit to athletic careers beyond high school.

Karen Malench

Karen Malench

West Athletes commit to athletic careers beyond high school.

By Christina Lappas and Mike McKay

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On Wed. Apr. 11 Niles West held April’s National Signing Day at 7:30 A.M. in the student commons. Three student-athletes, senior Shawn Campbell, senior Katelin Avenir, and senior Mia Piljevic decided to further their academic and athletic careers at a collegiate level.

Avenir started competitively swimming when she was nine years old and just committed to John Carroll University to continue her swimming career.

“I am beyond excited to start a new chapter of my athletic and academic career at John Carroll, but am also a little nervous at the same time. Placing myself in an environment that is completely new to me can be overwhelming, but I know John Carroll will make me feel right at home. I can’t wait to see what the next four years will bring,” Avenir said.

Avenir recognizes the privilege of competing at a collegiate level and is looking forward to what the future holds.

“To be able to compete at a collegiate level is truly an amazing opportunity. Being able to swim at John Carroll will give me a chance to continue something I love to do. While swimming at John Carroll, I look forward to growing as an athlete and gaining new experiences,” Avenir said. “Being a part of JCU’s swim team, I know that with the support and guidance from my new coach, Coach Fino, and my teammates I will be able to make the most out of college swimming career.”

Avenir and Piljevic’s coach, Jason Macejak, knew that both of the girls were going to be stars right when they joined the swimming team.

“When I first met [Avenir and Piljevic], I knew that they would be competing all four years here at West, and probably even at the collegiate level. You know, some people swim because they like it, and others do it because it’s in their blood. That’s the case for these two girls. The swim ten, eleven months of the year, and they get to continue their journey,” Macejak said.

Macejak is incredibly proud of the legacy that the girls are leaving once they graduate. He knows that they have made quite the mark here at West and that the other swimmers look up to them very much.

“[Avenir and Piljevic] are leaving with their names on the record board, which is always nice to see. They’re two of the fastest swimmers we’ve had in school history,” said Macejak. “The other girls look up to them, not purely based off of their talent, but their work ethic, as well.”

Campbell committed to Illinois Wesleyan and is extremely proud that he can take his game to the next level. He is excited to be able to do his school work while still being able to play.

“I chose Illinois Wesleyan because the in-state stats were the best for Division III football,” said Campbell. “I’m excited because I will be able to focus on what I’m studying, environmental engineering, and I’ll still be able to have grind sessions for football.”

Campbell has plans to hopefully some day transfer to a Division I school to play football.

“I would really like to transfer schools at some point, hopefully, a Division I school. If I plan to be an engineer who works in the environment, I would like to get my degree from a D1 program, and hopefully get to play football at the same time,” said Campbell.

Best of luck to the athletes as they continue their athletic careers.

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