CENTER TWP. – Prospective student athletes from nearly half the states in the country arrived at Penn State Beaver Friday for the campus’ annual Athletics Spirit Weekend.
The prospective students took tours of the campus, met faculty, staff, coaches and current students, in addition to attending basketball games and the Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony Saturday night.
Dan Pinchot, director of enrollment management and admissions, said the event has grown over the years. “It’s about finding the right fit. We want to make sure students believe it is the fit and can be successful before they commit. We need them to be successful and we need them to graduate,” he said.
Pinchot credited Associate Director of Enrollment Management Justin Vorbach, Assistant Athletic Director and volleyball coach BJ Bertges and men’s basketball coach Brian Bibey for the success of the weekend.
“Brian recruited the student athletes in the first place. Justin and BJ have been so instrumental in the planning and execution of this event,” Pinchot said. “It’s truly a team effort … I’m proud to work with these folks.”
Students visited Penn State Beaver from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, Pinchot said. There were also students from California, Texas, Georgia and Florida, among other states.
“The students that are here, they want a small campus experience,” Pinchot said. “They want a place where academics come first, but where they still have that opportunity as a freshman to play the sport that they love.”
That’s the case for Veronica Andujar.
Veronica, a soccer player from Weston, Florida visited with her mother, Monica. Veronica said she had a chance to talk to members of the Penn State Beaver soccer team and everyone made her feel welcome. Her mother said they were interested in coming to visit the campus not only because of soccer but because of the academics, which are also very important.
Julian Hauff committed to Penn State Beaver to play soccer. His family now lives in Frederick, Maryland, but he was born and spent a large part of his younger years in Stuttgart, Germany. Hauff said he was unfamiliar with the college system in the United States and looked at different schools before committing. He plans to study engineering.
Priscilla Medal and her mother, Sabrina, came from Naples, Florida. Priscilla plays volleyball, and “she wants Penn State on her degree,” Sabrina Medal said. She added that a smaller campus is a good fit for Priscilla because she attends a small high school now.
“It’s been phenomenal. The most exciting thing is to see the smiles on the students’ faces and the smiles on the parents’ faces,” Pinchot said. “The one thing that I hope that students and the families take away is how much we genuinely love this campus and how much we genuinely care about our students. From the food service, from the organizing of the event to the gifts and the takeaways, everything that we have done is designed to reinforce that we care about students.”