Skip to main navigation Skip to content
Athletic News

Sprinter Donovan Sanders ’20 Commits to Penn State

Girard College senior and PA State Champion sprinter Donovan Sanders ’20 will continue his academic and athletic careers at Penn State University this fall. He announced the decision live on Instagram Wednesday, April 29.

“I chose Penn State because it has become a home away from home,” Sanders said. “From my first interactions with Coach [Erin] Tucker, it felt like we knew each other for years. With a young team, I know we will push each other in practice and grow as a whole to become better athletes. And, of course, Penn State is very conducive to my academic development.”

Years of hard work culminated for Sanders at the PTFCA indoor state championships on March 1 at Penn State, Donovan’s future home track. After finishing a close second in the 400m race with a personal best time of 48.36 (US No. 14), Sanders put down a first place and personal best time of 21.51 (US No. 11) in the 200m.

At the PTFCA indoor state championships on March 1, 2020 at Penn State University, Donovan Sanders '20 finished first with a personal best time of 21.51 in the 200m

Sadly, that was the last time Sanders was able to compete in his senior year, as the indoor national championships and entire outdoor season were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As more big events were canceled, I realized I needed to switch my motivation to the future of my track career, whatever that would be,” Sanders explained. “I believe it was after they postponed the Olympics that I realized I wouldn’t be having an outdoor season. At that point, I started focusing on getting my body right and grades up so I can be ready when it’s time to go to college.”

Sanders’ success comes as no surprise to Diamond Woolford ’99, Girard College’s Head Track & Field Coach and an alumnus. He has worked with star athletes like Thelma Davies ’ 19, an Olympic hopeful now running at LSU, and has more rising talent in Margaret Conteh ’21, who finished second in the 400m at the indoor state championships.

“Donovan’s ascent to the top of not only the state but the country was no easy task,” Coach Woolford said. “It was a great sight to finally see him cross the finish line as number one in Pennsylvania in the 200m. Donovan’s success was a culmination of the belief he has in himself.”

“The Girard track team is amazing,” Woolford continued. “With one of the smallest student bodies in the country, we can produce top-tier, international-caliber athletes year in and year out. Despite students’ individual backgrounds or challenges, they continue to prove that you can reach greater heights no matter what, as long as you dedicate yourself to hard work and trust in your support system.”

Donovan Sanders ’20 (center) celebrates his decision to attend Penn State University with his brother, Javon, and mother, Liani Torres.

Helpful Links