GROVEPORT, Ohio – There is a stigma with the false claim that if a student pursues a career-technical education they cannot participate in high school athletics. We’re here to debunk that myth by introducing six different student-athletes that are enrolled at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, competed at a high level in their respective sport for their home school, and have chosen to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level.
Their next E may be education, but these students will continue to carry the title of student-athlete into their next life adventure.
Pickerington High School Central
Track & Field, University of Kentucky (NCAA Division (I)
Pictured: Troy LaneTroy Lane is a dual-sport athlete and a 4.0 student at Pickerington High School Central and Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools. His name is one you will want to remember and competitors cannot forget.He’s played football since the fifth grade, and playing at the collegiate level and beyond has always been his dream - until he started running track in seventh grade and realized just how fast he was. He was the Division I state champion in the men’s 100-meter, 200 and 4x100 his junior year, cementing the idea that he would have better opportunities in track & field moving forward. That didn’t stop colleges from recruiting him in both sports, however.
He fielded football scholarship offers from Ohio University and Miami University while also being recruited by the University of Kentucky, The Ohio State University, The University of Texas and Princeton University for track.
He leaned heavily on his trainer, whom he says he wouldn’t be where he is in athletics without, and his family, teachers and coaches, who know and understand his future academic and athletic goals, to make his ultimate decision. This fall, he will continue his engineering studies and track & field career at the University of Kentucky.
Troy said of his experience in the Pre-Engineering program at Eastland Career Center: “If you really know what you want to do, a career center is the place for you.”
He also said Eastland-Fairfield has been great about working with him to balance his academics and athletics, namely by letting him leave class a few minutes early each day so he can get back to school in time for practice. Attaining such high honors on and off the field or track is no easy feat. He said his mindset has been key.
“Staying focused on whatever you’re doing at the time, whether academics or athletics, is so important,” he said.
Giving himself time to recover has been one of his biggest challenges, but staying active in his church group and always working ahead in his academics have been crucial to providing the mental and physical breaks he needs.
Troy is currently working toward making the USA Track & Field U20 team. This is for athletes under 20 years of age who aspire to compete at an even higher level. He hopes this will help him get one step closer to his dream of representing the United States at an Olympic Games. Professionally, he wants to work as an aerospace engineer where he can pursue his passion for telescopes and spaceships.
Pictured: Morgan Albert
Gahanna Lincoln High School
Rowing, University of Lousiville (NCAA Division I)
Morgan Albert, a senior at Gahanna Lincoln High School and a member of the Westerville Crew rowing team, was one of the first girls to make it to nationals after the pandemic. That was just the beginning for her. She dropped more than 30 seconds off her time during her latest winter training season, earning her looks from some of the top college rowing programs.
As she enters the last rowing season of her high school career, she’s on top of the world. She has committed to the University of Louisville, an NCAA Division I program, where she’ll continue rowing while also working toward a degree in exercise science. She hopes to someday work as an occupational or physical therapist.
Knowing she wanted to go into the medical field, Morgan joined the Bioscience satellite program at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools her junior year of high school, which helped her narrow down what route she wanted to take in health care.
She said it takes a lot to compete in academics and athletics at such a high level but that it helps you in the long run.
“It has made me stronger in other areas of my life,” she said. “I know how to recover from things better, how to manage my time, and I believe the people you meet and the experiences you have bring more to your life overall.”
Pictured: Ellie LongEllie Long
Gahanna Lincoln High School
Rowing, Stockton University (NCAA Division III)
Rowing may seem like a newer sport, but that hasn’t stopped Ellie Long, a senior Gahanna Lincoln High School, from making a name for herself in the sport. This fall, she will join the rowing team at Stockton University, an NCAA Division III school in New Jersey. She chose the school for its serene setting and because they feature a Criminal Justice program so she can pursue both her academic and athletic goals. Ellie learned to row just two years ago but quickly fell in love with the sport. She has always been involved in athletics and couldn’t imagine that part of her life ending when she goes to college. So she continued honing her craft while also participating in the Bioscience satellite program at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools.
“When I first started the program, I wanted to be an EMT or a nurse,” she said.
While her future career goals have shifted, her time at Eastland-Fairfield taught her many valuable lessons she will carry with her. She hopes to one day work as a police officer and work her way to become a detective.
Her advice for other student-athletes is, “Separate the two as much as you can. Don’t let one interfere with the other.”
Pickerington High School North
Football, University of Akron (NCAA Division I)
Pictured: Jonas MannAt 6-feet, 7-inches and 290 pounds, Jonas Mann, a soon-to-be graduate of Pickerington North High School, belongs on the football field. He has played the sport since second grade and said his favorite part of his role as an offensive lineman is the “head-to-head battles.” As a Construction student at Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, he planned to enter the workforce upon graduating until several colleges — the likes of Bowling Green State University, Kent State University and the University of Toledo — came knocking. This fall, he will become a Division I student-athlete at Akron University where he will continue to hit the gridiron while pursuing a degree in construction and engineering design. His future goals include earning his master's in business so he can one day have his own construction business, following in his uncle’s footsteps, who works for M/I Homes.
One of his favorite projects while at Eastland-Fairfield has been building a home for Habitat for Humanity.
“The people I’ve met through Eastland-Fairfield and the things I’ve learned that I didn't even know were related to the construction industry made my experience a great one,” he said.
Jonas is also a baseball player, citing it as his first love. How does he continue to achieve at such a high level? He said nothing can get done without academics; it’s why student comes first in student-athlete. He tries to always remember that and make his academics his top priority.
Gahanna Lincoln High School
Volleyball, Troy University (NCAA Division I)
Pictured: Audrey WorthingtonAudrey Worthington, a senior at Gahanna Lincoln High School, has known for some time that working with kids is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. So it comes as no surprise that as soon as she was able, she signed up for Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools’ Teaching Professions satellite program.
Her only remaining question: could she simultaneously maintain her volleyball career, which began when she was in seventh grade? During her senior season, she set three records as the Lion’s strongest middle hitter — total blocks, highest hitting percentage and most kills in a season. Additionally, she fielded offers from James Madison University, the University of Southern Indiana and Troy University.
She said the lessons she learned about time management and correctly setting her priorities are what allowed her to achieve her academic and athletic goals.
This fall, she will start college at Troy University, a Division I school in Alabama where she will pursue a degree in early childhood education and continue playing volleyball. Her future goals include returning to Ohio to teach and coach volleyball.
Pickerington HS Central
Swimming, Old Dominion University (Division I)
Pictured: Marcus SchwartzMarcus Schwartz is a senior at Pickerington North High School and a student of the Multimedia program at Eastland-Fairfield Career Center. His legacy, however, is his incredible swimming talent. He recently signed with Old Dominion University, a Division I college in Virginia, to continue his athletic career, and offers this advice to other students trying to determine if they can balance athletics and academics: “Try it and if it doesn't work out then it’s time to make that choice. At least the way I think of it you should never sacrifice something you love without trying to make it work first.”
How has he made it work? Time management has been his biggest challenge. Between swimming, his multimedia coursework, art and orchestra, he’s learned to use his time effectively to the best of his ability.
His goals for the future are excelling in his swimming events, which include the individual medley and breaststroke while at college, pursuing a career in the multimedia/entertainment industry, completing an Ironman, and traveling the world.
He selected Old Dominion for its size and atmosphere. It also has a good swim team, and solid programs in the areas he plans to study. He also said that it is an added bonus that it’s close to the beach.