Reed Broaders remembers what Ema Rajic’s college signing ceremony was like. And Broaders imitated some of those elements Friday.
That’s when the Uni High senior signed her National Letter of Intent with the California women’s swimming and diving program, officially making her a future teammate of Rajic with the Bears.
Broaders’ event transpired inside Kenney Gym in Urbana, like Rajic’s. The main difference was attendees socially distancing from the 2018 News-Gazette All-Area girls’ swim and dive Athlete of the Year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I didn’t think this day was going to come so soon and I would make it there,” said Broaders, who last month won three races at the Champaign Central Sectional to end her prep career. “I’m over the moon. It’s so surreal.”
Her next steps are preparing for the 18 & Under Winter Championships in December and working toward making the Olympic Trials cut, as Rajic did in 2016.
Also signing with a D-I program on Friday was Watseka senior Jameson Cluver. He’ll run track at Tennessee-Martin.
“It means everything,” Cluver said. “I just can’t find the words for it.”
Cluver, a native Haitian, was adopted by Chad and Sherry Cluver and came to the United States at age 10. Chad Cluver is Watseka’s boys’ basketball coach.
He placed fifth in the 2019 Class 1A 400-meter dash and sixth as part of the Warriors’ 1,600 relay.
“I’m kind of representing both (Haiti and Watseka),” Cluver said. “Just going from a kid who was poor and (who) finally has a chance to do something, it means a lot.”