WHEELERSBURG — Wheelersburg senior Lani Irwin says joining the women’s soccer and track teams at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky. is another opportunity to continue what she and thousands of student-athletes across Ohio and the country were shorted of following the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season.
“To me it means that I’m able to finish what I wasn’t able to this spring,” Irwin said. “I wish all senior athletes got this opportunity. But I will take this and make this most of it. I can’t wait to be challenged and I’m so eager to improve.”
In doing so, Irwin becomes the second Lady Pirate senior in the last two years to commit to playing soccer and running track at Georgetown, following in the footsteps of 2019 graduate Libby Miller.
Joining Miller and the opportunities Georgetown and its coaches presented to Irwin were ultimately what led her to becoming a Tiger ahead of the fall semester.
“The biggest selling point would have to be the fact that the coaches at Georgetown are extremely uplifting and positive,” Irwin said. “The fact that they were willing to talk with me and work through this process with me means a lot. I can’t wait to play for them. Also the possibility that I may play and run with Libby again is so exciting. I look forward to bringing our success from high school up to the college level. She’s been a big help in this entire process as well, I’m grateful for her.”
In her four years at Wheelersburg, Irwin has been a part of Lady Pirate teams which have won six district championships (three girls soccer, two girls track, one girls basketball).
Irwin’s game-winning three-pointer lifted the Lady Pirates past McConnellsville Morgan in a Division III regional semifinal played at Logan High School during the 2018-19 postseason, prompting the Lady Pirates’ first Elite Eight berth in program history.
Although Irwin indeed compteted at the highest level with her track teammates at both the 2018 and 2019 OHSAA State Track and Field championships, she was unable to compete in her final year which may have resulted in another opportunity at getting on the podium at the state meet.
As part of her signing, Irwin is relaying the message to future senior athletes not to take anything for granted when competing — no matter the sport, no matter the stage.
“To next year’s senior athletes, don’t take anything for granted. Always be fortunate for the opportunities you get and never lose your guard. When you have the chance always go 110-percent. There will be a time where you face adversity, but in order to succeed you need to push through it. I wish the Class of ‘21 the best of luck and I hope the best for their senior year.”
Even though Irwin’s teammates and coaches weren’t able to celebrate her signing ceremony in-person due to federal social distancing guidelines and the closure of Ohio’s schools, the Wheelersburg senior was thankful for the moments and memories they’ve shared together as Pirates.
“I will never forget where I got my start,” Irwin said. “Although I’m going to college to play two out of the three sports I played, I will never forget the lessons I learned while playing basketball. Coach (Dusty) Spradlin has taught me so many valuable lessons. These lessons didn’t just pertain to the court, but also to life. I am eternally grateful for his enlightenment. For soccer and track, I plan to take my skills and expand and grow upon them. I will give credit for all of my success to where I got my start. My family and the ‘Burg community have helped me out more than they know.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved