Pitman High currently has 11 student-athletes competing at the collegiate level for track and field and after Tuesday, the list of Pride athletes participating in this sport grew with the addition of four more standouts.
Allie Austin, Sydney Holmes, Lauren Cariaso and Jamie Stroup will be taking their skills to compete at the collegiate level after each received athletic scholarships for track and field.
“To have four girls this year, added to the long list we already have, is special,” said Pitman track and field head coach Thad Moren. “It creates an inspiration for future kids.”
The Pitman High girls varsity track and field program has been extremely successful in recent years, having won four consecutive Central California Conference titles.
This, along with the lengthy list of alumni competing at the next level in the sport, has brought attention to the program and its student-athletes.
Each of these four individuals faced some sort battle to reach this level but with the help of their friends, family, school teachers, counselors and loved ones, they have been able to push through it all as they await the next step in their lives.
“They will in essence be ending one phase of their athletic and academic careers and starting another,” said Pitman High Athletic Director Dave Walls. “It is with great pleasure that we are able to recognize and honor these young ladies who have persevered through long hours and hard work.”
With a 3.9 grade point average, Austin not only excelled in the classroom but also in pole vault, competing all four years. She will be attending Fresno Pacific University on track and field scholarship.
“I chose to go there because it is a small Christian school and I wanted to go academically as well, but then I found out I could vault there and it fell together,” said Austin. “I am stoked... I am really excited to see what it will be like and the competitive feel that I will have being there.”
Austin is also a two time Section qualifier and is the third vaulter in school history to clear 10-feet.
Holmes managed to excel in the classroom above and beyond her peers with a 4.3 grade point average and will take her skills to Humboldt State on a scholarship after picking up the sport less than two years ago.
“It's really exciting mostly because it's a big accomplishment. I didn't expect to do this well when I started, but all the hard work has paid off and the gymnastics talent rolled over,” Holmes said. “I'm excited and very proud of myself. Their program and major are perfect and it's a good fit for me.”
Cariaso will be attending Grand Canyon University, a Division I athletic program, on a scholarship after six years in track, and four at the varsity level with the Pride.
“I like their programs and I have family there so I know if I go there and need somebody to turn to I can always count on them,” Cariaso said. “Their track team is great and I enjoyed it and they have the degree I want, which is athletic training or sports medicine.”
Of all things, Cariaso is most looking forward to competing and improving her triple jump personal record with all her collegiate peers.
Stroup will be the first member of her family to attend college on an athletic scholarship after she accepted an offer from Whittier College.
“I wanted to choose somewhere that was close to home but not too close and the big thing was that they had my major and they had track and field and I could compete and do what I love,” Stroup said. "I am looking forward to the competition, that's the best thing for sure."