Quinnipiac wanted her. Cornell wanted her too, but when it came down to making the final decision, Monmouth University in New Jersey seemed like the perfect fit for three-sport star Shannon Averill.
Averill, joined by her parents, sister, coach, and athletic director, along with a number of friends, signed a Letter of Intent at a ceremony held in the high school library Feb. 7. She’ll run track for Monmouth, a Division 1 school.
Averill, who excels at soccer, basketball, and track, said she chose to run for Monmouth over the other colleges because of how the south Jersey school recruited her.
“I just felt so comfortable with the coaches,” she said.
Averill also made three trips to the school to talk to the coaches and visit the campus.“I was just so comfortable there,” she said.
It also helped that Monmouth offered her the most scholarship money, and it didn’t hurt that several of the school’s dorms for upperclassmen are located along the Jersey shore.
“They began contacting me after they saw my times in various newspapers,” Averill said of the recruiting process. “They have a terrific running program, and I just thought that I would never have this opportunity again.”
Averill holds the Saugerties High School record in the 1500 meters, and last year, made it to the state finals in the 800 meters– the event Monmouth recruited her for. She also runs as part of the 4×400 team along with her sister Kellyann.
And while Monmouth wants her to run the 800, her high school coach, Steve Buonfiglio, believes that Shannon is such a versatile runner the coaches at Monmouth will have her running more than just the 800 meters.
“She just has such great potential, and I think Monmouth saw that,” Buonfiglio added.
Monmouth also has an indoor track and competes during the winter season as well, something Averill said she is looking forward to.
But it’s not only athletics that Averill is looking forward to at Monmouth; academics also play a large role. She plans to enroll in the school’s nursing program with an eye toward a degree in the medical field, although she is not yet sure what area.
What do parents Tom, the principal at the high school, and mom, Kathy, a teacher, have to say? “They just said to enjoy what you’re doing,” said Averill.