WHS students play ‘specialty sports’ in college


Photo courtesy of Varsity Vantage

Jordan Ortiz playing in a football game against Elizabeth High School

Many WHS students plan to continue their athletic careers in college, whether that means they received an athletic scholarship, are interested in being on a club team or want to participate in intramural sports with friends.

While many seniors will be continuing sports they played in high school, a few will be focusing on specialized programs that are only offered at select universities. 

Senior Allie Fernandez received a scholarship to attend Kutztown University of Pennsylvania next year as a member of the inaugural acro and tumbling team. Fernandez first learned about the team after Kutztown reached out to WHS gymnastics coach Jenna Zito. 

Fernandez said, “Acro and tumbling is an up-and-coming sport. It’s a mix of cheerleading, rhythmic gymnastics and artistic gymnastics.” 

Unlike gymnastics, which usually includes four different events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, in acro and tumbling, athletes only compete in the floor exercise. Gymnastics is typically an individual sport where events are scored based on individual performance, but acro and tumbling is based on team scoring.

Another athlete who will be part of a specialized program is senior Jordan Ortiz. Ortiz will be on the Division 1 sprint football team at the University of Pennsylvania next year. Sprint football follows the same rules as regular football, but players must maintain a weight of 185 pounds or less. “[Sprint football] is much faster-paced and has a lot more plays than a typical game,” said Ortiz. 

There are many opportunities for students to be involved in collegiate athletics, and between all the different programs and levels of commitment, anyone can be involved in sports. 

Ortiz said, “There’s always an avenue to playing college sports. I didn’t start playing football until my junior year, but the work I put in over the last few years put me in the position that I’m in today.”

Ortiz continued, “I’m looking forward to making my mark on the program and becoming the best possible athlete I can be.” Similarly, Fernandez wants to be a leader and “make the first team at Kutztown the best that it can be for the up and coming seasons.”