Online Originals: Local high school athletes transition to college amid pandemic

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) The coronavirus is making the future uncertain for many athletes. Here in the East, a lot of high school athletes are working on their transition to college.

“It really has not been easy I would say. We weren’t able to practice for three months,” said Bailey Bunn, Rising Freshman Gymnast at the University of Kentucky.

That is three months student-athletes will never get back.

Recent J.H. Rose graduate and gymnast, Bailey Bunn is facing the challenge head-on, as she prepares to compete in college.

“We got on Zoom calls and conditioned on there every morning and I ran every day outside to try to stay busy,” said Bunn. “But, there is nothing like gymnastics. So, when we came back, it was a lot.”

The excitement of the college transition is still there, but these athletes are also facing the reality of the pandemic.

“I think I’m definitely still excited for school and for football, but I understand that if that has to change because of people’s health, then that’s something that I can get over,” said Gabe Toriello, Rising Freshman on the Barton College Football team.

Toriello will join two D.H. Conley High School teammates in suiting up for the Bulldogs this Fall. He says setting and working towards goals is keeping on his path to success.

“Honestly, it’s been challenging at times. There have been times when I’ve thought that there wouldn’t have been football… but, I’ve just been waking up and the first thing on my mind is ‘okay, what am I going to do today to help me move forward in the direction of achieving my goal’,” said Toriello.

These athletes are used to working on their mix of sports and academics– the transition during the pandemic is just another thing they’re working through.

“I feel like the only person you ever have to beat is yourself and if you beat yourself then you will beat anyone else there. So, always push yourself more than anyone else can push you,” said Bunn with a smile.

“Keep striving, that’s all I’ve got to say,” added Toriello.

The resiliency and determination of these teens shine bright. From one athlete to another, those are the attitudes that will lead you to success.

To learn more about the local transition from high school to college for these two athletes, watch the full video only on

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