By S. Quinn DeJoy and J. Murrer
Nov. 23, 2016: Seniors Kaitlin Ryan and Ara Atayan officially signed their respective letters of intent to play collegiate sports on November 9 in the Bronxville High School library. Ryan will run cross country and track for Stanford University, and Atayan will play lacrosse at the University of North Carolina.
Ryan has been running at Bronxville for five years, and in her very first year as an eighth-grader she was a member of the cross country team that won the Class C state championship. She is a three-time All-American in track and has anchored the 4x800m outdoor relay for the past two years, bringing home gold each time. She is currently the third-fastest 800m runner in the country, having run a personal best of 2:06.65 in June. Ryan went on four official visits to colleges and talked to coaches but in the end decided on Stanford.
"Stanford was the strongest team, and I really wanted to have a good group of people to train with. Coming from Bronxville, I have always had good people to train with. If you put yourself in a place with so many like-minded people who are hard working and run fast, I know it will be easier for me to do well."
Stanford is a great fit for Ryan's athletic endeavors, and the Stanford academic environment should offer this outstanding student all that she is looking for.
"It's a remarkable achievement for her to be able to continue her athletic career at Stanford," said Coach Jim Mitchell. "It was a difficult decision, especially since it is so far from home. I think the deciding factor was that she has a burning desire to achieve the most that she can in the sport and that Stanford will offer her the best opportunity to do so."
Atayan, who joined the Bronxville varsity lacrosse team as an eighth-grader, committed to UNC in September of 2013, when he was just a freshman. At the time, he was the earliest commitment ever to an NCAA Division I lacrosse program.
Atayan first met the Tar Heel coaches in the summer after seventh grade when he attended summer lacrosse camp. He returned to UNC camp the following year, and at the end of the summer, Head Coach Joe Breschi invited him back to campus for a recruiting visit.
"I was offered a scholarship on that visit and committed," said Atayan. "Chapel Hill is a special place, and UNC has a great academic and athletic tradition. Coach Breschi's motto of Family, Academics, and Lacrosse is something that resonated with me."
Atayan is an honors student who plays midfield and attack and was a significant contributor to Bronxville's 2014 state championship when he was just a freshman.
"Winning a state championship was certainly the highlight of my high school career," said Atayan. "We have had many exciting games as well, including our wins over Greenwich and Garden City my sophomore season. Our heated rivalry with Pleasantville is something I especially look forward to. We are all working very hard as a team to get the Broncos back into the state championship quest again this year."
As a sophomore and junior, Atayan was named All-Section and garnered All-Hudson Valley and All-Star Westchester status from MSG Varsity and the Journal News. He was named a captain of the Broncos prior to the 2016 season, only the second junior ever to be named a captain. He was nominated to compete for the Morehead-Cain academic scholarship at UNC.
Atayan will be joining a top-tier lacrosse program. The Tar Heels won the NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Championships in 2016.
Pictured here: Seniors Ara Atayan and Kaitlin Ryan on signing day.
Photo by Karen Peterson