By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Staff Writer
If the trainer was ever late to an ACIT girls basketball game, the RedHawks had no need to worry. They had senior Savannah Witmer on the roster.
Witmer, aside from being a very productive power forward for ACIT, will graduate this spring as a certified EMT, and said she hopes to one day become an emergency room nurse. That’s a career that is very demanding, but Witmer has proven throughout her four-year varsity career that she can handle whatever is thrown at her. She earned a starting job as a freshman, and was a team captain the past two years. She helped lead ACIT to a school-record 17 wins this season while remaining one of the top students in the school.
This edition’s Old Cape Recycling Scholar Athlete knows how to prepare and execute when it comes to getting a job done.

Savannah Witmer (11) was a four-year starter for ACIT and helped the RedHawks to a school-record 17 wins this season. (Glory Days Magazine photo/Dave O’Sullivan)


“I’m really proud of how far I came and how I developed as a player, and I’m really happy with some of my achievements. I got the unsung hero, little things like that, and the fact that I was a team captain was a big achievement for me. Overall, it was an amazing experience for me, just to bond with the girls and the coaches. I started coming to practices in the summer before my freshman year, and coach (Jason Vander Ryk), his words were, ‘you’re not a freshman, you’re on varsity.’ I was ecstatic about that. I ended up as a starter, which was incredible. I was extremely nervous. I was nervous about other people being upset with me for taking their spot because there were two seniors on the team when I was starting as a freshman. I was worried they would be upset with me, but they ended up being alright with it, and they were happy that I was achieving my goals,” Witmer said. “We had a lot of doubters (this year). A lot of people doubted our skill level and kept saying we weren’t going to go far, that we’d be lucky to get eight wins. We had a lot of bad attitudes toward us, but we proved them all wrong with beating the school record with 17 wins, buzzer beaters, and just the overall season was incredible.”
Witmer, a Galloway resident, decided to go to ACIT instead of her hometown Absegami at the urging of her brother, Dylan, who graduated two years ago and was a member of the RedHawks’ baseball program.
“My brother came here before me. He graduated two years ago, and he kind of talked me into it,” she said. “I knew I wanted to go into the health field, so once I saw the opportunity to get a head start and get ahead of the game, I definitely wanted (to come to ACIT). I would love to become an emergency room nurse.”
ACIT has what are called “academies” that are basically like having a major in college. Students select a particular path and take a lot of courses in that subject area. The health sciences academy is particularly demanding, especially when you’re playing about 25 basketball games each winter, have night games and sometimes long bus rides.
“It was tough at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was easier to manage my time. That was really the hardest part, managing my time and juggling basketball with honors classes and the health science courses, as well as extra-curricular activities, like church, outside of school. It was hard at first, but once I got used to it, it was easier, but it was still a new challenge every year. Around the end of freshman year is when I really started getting used to things. I got in a routine of coming home from practice, doing my homework, making sure I was keeping up with all the work while also training for basketball,” Witmer said. “It was a challenge (during the season), especially when we had 7 p.m. games. What really helped was doing my homework on the bus. I’d be juggling a flashlight to try to see my papers, but that’s the dedication you need, and it comes down to the effort you’re willing to put into school work and basketball. I think most of my motivation comes from my parents. They really always push me to do well in school, and if I don’t, they will pull me out of basketball. So, it was mostly from them pushing me, and from there I developed my own personal motivation to keep it up and keep up my grades.
“My academy is very demanding. There are so many different aspects of the skill level you need, the information you need to know. It’s very hard. You can’t just memorize something, you have to know it for the rest of your life if you want to pursue a career (in nursing),” she added. “We’re a technology school, so we have a personal track we follow, our academy, and we go through that. I’ll graduate with an EMT certificate and some other health certificates that I will use in my future career in the health field.”
Witmer said she’s surprised how quickly her high school career went, but she’ll have plenty of memories to pack up along with her clothes as she heads off to college in the fall.
“My career went by really fast. It’s sad to see, because I might not play in college because my career path is really demanding. Overall, I’m extremely proud of it, but I’m really sad that it’s all over now,” Witmer said. “Freshman year, we beat Wildwood Catholic for the first time, and seeing everyone celebrating, that still sticks with me to this day. That was our biggest win in school history. It was incredible, and also this year, all the wins — we beat Absegami twice in two very close games — so this year and freshman year were probably the two best years.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays