Enquirer Herald

Clover athletes Rulevich, Bottini name colleges

Clover’s Bailey Bottini, second from left, and Morgan Rulevich, second from right, announced they’ll be playing college sports. Bottini, joined by Clover coach Graham Stafford, will play soccer at Lander. Rulevich, joined by coach Joan Epping, will swim at UNC Asheville.
Clover’s Bailey Bottini, second from left, and Morgan Rulevich, second from right, announced they’ll be playing college sports. Bottini, joined by Clover coach Graham Stafford, will play soccer at Lander. Rulevich, joined by coach Joan Epping, will swim at UNC Asheville. bmccormick@heraldonline.com

Clover High record-breaking swimmer Morgan Rulevich and boys’ soccer player Bailey Bottini announced college choices during a gathering in the school’s media center recently.

Rulevich will attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Bottini is headed to Lander University in Greenwood.

Rulevich, the daughter of Tina and John Rulevich, found the UNC Asheville campus appealing.

“I love the campus,” she said. “I love the mountains, the atmosphere and everything to do up there.”

Rulevich said she cherishes the time she’s spent with head swim team coach Joan Epping since seventh grade.

“I really look up to coach Epping and love her,” said Rulevich.

“I love the way the swim program is going,” she said. “We’ve finished second in the region the last two years, which is a new thing for us.”

Rulevich said it’s amazing how much the swim team program at CHS has grown under Epping.

“I love the sport, and now I’m going to college,” she said. “I’m going to swim even more and feel I will get better than I am now.

“I am so excited to reach the next level. I am ready to set new records and standards and to make this team better that it already is.”

Rulevich had advice for local young swimmers: “It is a really challenging sport. It requires the use of more muscles than any other sport; that’s why I love it.

“You need to be in the pool every day,” she said. “I know you don’t want to go, but you’ve gotta go. You’ve got to work as hard as you can. You may feel like you’re not getting any better but the next meet you go to, you’re gonna drop so much time.

“You’ll see an incredible difference.”

Bottini, the son of Richard and Beth Bottini, is a gifted soccer player who said he is ready to meet a new challenge at Lander University.

“I’ve been there a couple of times,” he said. “I like the campus a lot. They have a lot of new buildings and a new facility.”

He said Lander has a new soccer coach. “I’ve been talking to the assistant coaches, too,” he said. “I like the coaches a lot.”

Bottini said high school soccer is becoming a popular sport, especially at CHS.

“When I came to the soccer team four years ago, there were only a handful of club soccer players who played in the offseason,” he said. “Right now, varsity and JV participants are pretty much all club players.”

Bottini said the CHS soccer program has reaped the benefits of heavy youth soccer participation at the Clover Parks and Recreation Department.

“I help coach one of the teams,” he said.

Bottini said he is excited about taking his game to college.

“This is my dream,” he said. “I want to thank God, my parents and coaches. Without them, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

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