The Next Steps for Terrapin Athletes


Illustrated and made by Aolani Velez.

Aolani Velez

     Students have worked extremely hard to achieve their goals of being signed to their sport and they are excited. This long-awaited moment is finally here and this is what students are moving into.

    Senior Rower Meagan Lukavec has been signed with UCF. She started rowing her freshman year of high school and has come a long way.

     “I’m excited to go join this new team [at UCF], and possibly win NCAA’s,” said rower Meagan Lukavec.

     The break from sports during COVID-19 put a stop to training. Athletes such as Meagan missed having a set practice schedule and it was difficult to get back on track.

   “It was hard with no set practice schedule, and I just wasn’t getting things done,” said Lukavec. 

     Her family has now helped her get back to being motivated and getting things done. Having her athletic and supportive family has carried her a long way into being signed by UCF.

     “We always have to be active, and that has a lot of influence on me. They’ve shown me nothing but support and given me the resources I needed,” said Lukavec.

  Baseball player Jaden Sheffield, who has signed with Georgetown University, agrees that his family’s support and athleticism have helped him get to where he is today. 

    “They push me to pass them up because I have two older brothers that played, so being the first one to make it to a D1 university gives me some bragging rights around the house,” said Sheffield.

    It has not always been easy to play baseball for Sheffield, but he has learned to push himself further. Baseball has helped him by teaching him lessons and by pushing him forward mentally.

     “My sport has helped me because I’ve learned from failure because baseball is a failure game. You are going to fail more times than you succeed so it shows you how to overcome that and mentally reset and come up with a solution,” said Sheffield.

    Both Lukavec and Sheffield agree that they want to continue in the future with their sports as far as they can and go pro. Sheffield wants aspiring athletes to know that they can push themselves through tough moments.

    “Don’t get frustrated with your failures, everyone goes through them but it’s up to you whether or not you decide to push through them. If you continue to work and do the things nobody else is willing to do you’ll find yourself in whatever situation you want,” said Sheffield.

     Rower Lukavec also believes that you can put yourself into whatever situation you want. As long as you push past mental barriers and want something it is achievable.

    “Don’t give up, you’ve got to be stronger than your excuses. You have to be stronger than that mindset and push past it and it’ll take you anywhere,” said, Lukavec 

    Volleyball player Gracie Kiser, who will be attending Lehigh University in the fall, wants to continue playing because she loves her sport. Kiser has pushed herself to be recruited into Lehigh University because it will prepare her for the future.

    “[Lehigh University] Being a D1 school for volleyball it was a combination of everything I wanted so it’s perfect,” said Kiser when talking about why she selected her university.

    Gracie has had the amazing support of her coaches and team to push her through challenges. Throughout the years Kiser’s coaches have helped shape and move forward. 

   “Anna Taylor the prep coach is a coach that has definitely impacted me a lot, every coach leaves something different with me that I’ll always remember.”

   Kiser’s plan for the future is to continue with volleyball but she is still uncertain about the rest of her future.

  “College is as far as I’ve thought, but I think it’d be really cool to play overseas for a few years afterwards. However, that’s not a solid plan,” said Kiser.

   The message Kiser wants to leave to aspiring athletes is to push yourself. Sheffield and Lukavec also mentioned that motivation is important to achieve your goals.

   “If you want it go for it, the harder you work the more you get out of it. You never know because something like this can happen in your life,” Kiser said.

   All the hard work has paid off for these students and their futures are looking bright. The amount of dedication they put into their sports has gotten them into amazing colleges and they will continue to push themselves through challenges in college.


Students Athletes going into college:

Meagan Lukavec (rowing), University of Central Florida

Brady White (dive), Texas Christian University 

 Christian Perez (swim), Boston College

Helena Noel (golf),  Florida International University 

Jose Peña (baseball),  Florida International University 

Jaden Sheffield (Baseball), Georgetown University 

Gracie Kiser (Volleyball), Lehigh University 

Alexandra Postlethwaite (Volleyball), Southeastern University