Liberty High School is sending one of its best track athletes – and students, and citizens – deep in the heart of Texas to continue her athletic career.
In front of friends, family and Charger administrators who have been part of her journey the last four years, Christelle Bonzil signed a Division I scholarship Friday to Rice University in Houston.
“On my visit I fell in love with the program and the school, their academics are great and the environment is spectacular,” said Bonzil, who plans to major in managerial studies and minor in financial composition.
Bonzil is a decorated high, triple and long jumper. She was likely one of or the best jumper in Central Florida as a junior last season, winning regional titles and placing sixth in the triple and eighth in the long and high jump at the Class 3A state meet last year. After competing for charter school New Dimensions as a freshman, she’s placed at state in the high jump all three years thus far.
She’s just as decorated in the classroom, where coming out of her junior year she carried a 4.6 weighted GPA, near the top of her class, and a completed Associate’s degree – by the end of her junior year.
Her work on the track and in the classroom attracted the attention of schools with household names – and strong track programs, like Marshall, UAB, Southern Miss, Louisville and Wichita State.
“It’s been a hectic four years. But I have an amazing family, teachers, coaches and teammates that have helped me along the way,” she said. “If you stick to your goals and dreams, this is possible.”
Chargers track coach Mickey Smith said he’s 100 percent sure Bonzil will thrive on the college track scene at Rice.
“I trust them, especially on the academic side. When I updated (Rice’s) coaching staff updates about what she’d done at regionals and state, they were already aware,” she said. “She’ll take on whatever they throw at her based on how she’s trained here. Her hard work is paying off.”
A media center-full of Liberty High administrators had wonderful things to say about Bonzil at Friday’s signing – and most probably never saw her run or jump.
“Christelle is a leading example for Liberty High School and the entire county,” said Chargers’ Athletic Director Corey Edwards, who did see Bonzil jump. “She is one who has put in the work, and she’s someone we should all be proud of.”
Bonzil can now compete in her senior year – aside from the jumping events she joins a random relay team and will be trying her legs at the hurdles this year – with the stress of finding a college program completely gone. Smith said Bonzil may enter the Foot Locker Invitational track meet in New York in February, right at the opening of the high school track season.