Gunston College-Bound Athletes Comprise 15% of Class of 2023

Centreville, MD – The Gunston School is pleased to announce that three more members of the class of 2023 have signed their letters of intent to play sports at the college level, for a total of 9 students and 15% of the senior class, beating the national average for the second year in a row. At a recent signing ceremony this past Wednesday, April 26, students and their families along with coaches and faculty gathered in the Alice R. Ryan Family Library to celebrate their accomplishments. Nationwide, a little over 7% of high school athletes (about 1 in 13) go on to play a varsity sport in college and less than 2% of high school athletes (1 in 57) go on to play at NCAA Division I schools. 

Miranda Pope of Port Tobacco, Md. will be cheering for High Point University. Pope is an integral member of Cheer Extreme All Stars—Maryland, where she was named both MVP and Captain, winning “The One and The Worlds” competition in 2021. Most recently, she led her team to the Level 6 World Championship in Florida at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Competition in 2022. 

Gunston’s College Guidance Co-Director Tony D’Antonio commented, “Miranda has what I call a NEVER GIVE UP approach to THINGS. We all face setbacks and obstacles along the way, but it’s how we respond to these challenges that defines us. Over this past year, I have had many meetings with Miranda as she has remained focused on her academic progress and her college application process. This focus has earned Miranda offers of admission to Auburn, Ole Miss, Palm Beach Atlantic, and of course, where she will be competing as an NCAA Division I Cheerleader—at High Point University.” In addition to cheer, Pope played volleyball and lacrosse at Gunston.

Aaron Sanderson of Annapolis, Md. will be playing soccer for the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Sanderson began playing the sport at age four, joining his first club travel team (Maryland United FC) at age 10, in addition to playing for Gunston. “I was originally interested in USMMA for the education and the opportunities I would have after college,  but being able to play on their soccer team made me want to go there even more,” he said. 

“Aaron’s commitment, work ethic, and leadership had a tremendous positive impact on our soccer program and on his teammates,” said Juan Angarita, Gunston’s Head Coach for Boys Varsity Soccer and faculty member. “In his early years at Gunston, Aaron quickly became a pillar of strength for our varsity team.  Not only did he display an exceptional aptitude as a goalie, but he impressed the coaches and teammates with his outstanding foot skills. […] During the fall of 2021, Aaron scored 6 goals and in the fall of 2022 he scored 8 goals. In both seasons he also had more than 10 assists. Undoubtedly,  his leadership and ability on the pitch helped our team reach the championship game two years in a row. As a result, Aaron was selected for the ESIAC all conference team for both seasons and in his last season he received the coach’s award.”

Aidan Trautman of Centreville, Md. will be running cross country for Emory and Henry College. Trautman joined what was then a newly-formed cross country team at Gunston in his ninth grade year. At the time, he was also involved in travel baseball but decided to shift his focus to cross country training. Additionally, Trautman has also participated in the Triathlon program. 

Gunston’s Cross Country and Triathlon Coach Bobby Stephenson said, “I once explained a very simple mantra to the cross country team and Aidan is the embodiment of that mantra: If you want to run fast, you have to run fast! Aidan absolutely took this to heart and for him what it really means is that you have to work really hard to achieve your goals. […] The transformation that Aidan has made from his [ninth grade] year to now is astonishing and that transformation is entirely the product of goal-setting. Each year Aidan has shown up with very clear goals, both for himself and for the team, and each year he has achieved those goals, from running a sub-20 minute 5K his sophomore year (check), winning a conference championship (check, twice), earning all-conference honors (check, three times) to a goal that he’s set for himself just three days from now, to run a sub-17 minute 5K. He’s been a role model for his teammates in this way and he’s become a leader that is irreplaceable.”

“I’m most looking forward to the incredible experience that Emory & Henry has to offer. From the entirely new environment, the awesome teachers I’ve already met, to the new cross country team I get to work with, I look forward to spending my college experience and my next few years there,” said Trautman.