Washington High School senior Eli Lynch made his future plans known at a ceremony on National Signing Day Wednesday, Feb. 5.
Lynch will be attending Saint Francis University, located in Loretto, Pa. The school is located about an hour’s drive east of Pittsburgh.
“I wanted my academics to come first,” Lynch said. “I was looking at Valparaiso University in Indiana and the University of Dayton, because their academic programs are very strong.
“Saint Francis had something that neither of them had,” Lynch said. “I got accepted into their Physician Assistant Program. They choose only 55 people each year. What’s special about it is, most Physician Assistant programs are six years — four years undergrad and two years Masters — but at Saint Francis, it’s just five years straight through. As soon as you graduate, you’re ready to be in the field.
“You can choose a specialty,” Lynch said. “I don’t know what I’ll choose yet. The fifth year of the program is all clinical rotations in hospitals. It’s five week rotations in different specialties, so I’ll know which one I’ll want to choose.”
Lynch has enjoyed his time at Washington High School.
“The overall experience has been great,” Lynch said. “At first here, I thought I was going to be a baseball player. If you ask coach (Tyler) Flora, my sophomore year I wrote about what I wanted to do with my life after high school, I want to play college baseball. Now, here I am (on the way) to playing college football.
“I’d say my favorite moment was the (2019) Trace game,” Lynch said. “I’ll never forget that. The comeback at the end. That kind of defined what we were all about, just never giving up. That’s just what I’ll always remember it as.”
Lynch spoke about a memorable teacher in high school.
“Teachers that have had the greatest impact on me would be David Penwell (business classes, DECA program),” Lynch said. “He’s just always been there for me through everything. George Frederick had a big impact on me as far as making me feel more confident in my writing.
“Matt Rader made me feel more confident about math,” Lynch said. “I couldn’t really pick a favorite subject, because they are all such great teachers.”
What about the challenge of studying to be a doctor and being a member of the football team at Saint Francis?
“They told me up front it was going to be difficult to do the Physician Assistant Program and play Division I college football,” Lynch said. “But that’s really what I want to do and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’ve always had to have good time management throughout high school because I’ve been in a sport every season. Honestly, it’s not going to be much different, just on a higher level.”
“First of all, I want to thank God for blessing me with the ability and the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Lynch said. “My family has been so supportive through everything. My grandpa and grandma have always made sure that I’ve had food, rides to wherever I needed to go when my mom and dad were at work. And my mom and dad have always made sure that I’ve had everything. They’re the best. My sisters sitting through cold games and always coming to everything.
“My coaches, coach (Chuck) Williamson with getting me recruited, making me love football,” Lynch said. “Coach (Tyler) Flora, he’s become like a second father to me. He was my position coach for receivers, so I was with him more than even coach Williamson. (Flora) believed in me before I believed in myself. I really can’t thank him enough for that. There are just too many people to thank, really.”
“Eli is going to be playing in a tremendous conference (the Northeast Conference),” Blue Lion head football coach Chuck Williamson said. “He’ll travel all over the country.
“Eli is such a good athlete,” Williamson said. “He broke every imaginable receiving record here. He has a tremendous future in front of him. I believe he’s a 3.9 (GPA) student, with a 25 ACT (score). He’s a well-rounded young man. I think he’ll have a great career.”
Editor’s note: Also on Wednesday, Washington Blue Lion senior Collier Brown signed to attend the University of Akron and Garitt Leisure signed to attend Ohio Dominican University (in Columbus). On Thursday, Washington senior Shawna Conger signed to attend Roosevelt University (located in Chicago). There will be stories on their signings in future editions of the Record-Herald.