The end of the school year is still more than three months away but on Thursday morning a group of Howell student athletes signed National Letters of Intent to take their game to the next level.
In sports ranging from golf to football the Rebels who did so much to help their teams during their high school days will take what they learned to the college game. Not only are they going to help solid athletic teams but they are also going to some of the most academically demanding schools in the country.
Some athletes, such as soccer sensation Chris Hill, will be going as far away as Richmond, Va., while golfer Rebecca Gaona will be staying closer to home when she joins the Monmouth University Hawks.
For some, their next school will bring plenty of familiar faces. During the fall when Ryan Davies and Nick Craig will be playing football for Moravian College, softball ace Carsin Conner will be able to be in the stands watching them play before mowing down her own opponents.
Conner said she is excited to see what college will be like as she prepares to face tougher batters than she has seen in the Shore Conference. She's also looking forward to everything Moravian has to offer. "It was a beautiful campus," she said. "The team's amazing, it's a great staff and team all together."
With the start of her final Rebel season just around the corner Conner said she is glad she will be able to focus on winning without worrying about her future. "It makes me very much more relaxed and be able to pitch and have fun instead of stressing out like last year," she said.
Not only is football Coach Cory Davies losing his son to Moravian, he is also losing two of his top starters from this past year. The coach said there are four players signed to play at the college level and there could be two more still to come.
He said the dynamic duo who made several big connections during their high school career had not originally planned on taking that next big step together. "They are very very good friends and then Ryan went out and visited with him and they decided they wanted to go together and hopefully be roommates on the road."
The coach said even without his top passer and a gifted receiver his team will be in good shape for 2012. A lot of that could depend on current junior John Quinlan who figures to take over the starting job when the record breaking quarterback graduates. "He's going to be very good and I think we have a lot of young kids who are running back kind of kids who will not change the offense but allow us to do some things running the football while we haven't had the depth to run in the past two years."
Among the student athletes who signed their letters on Thursday were:
- Taylor Algor, a soccer player who will attend Flagler College;
- Deanna Columbia, a soccer player who will attend Kean University;
- Tom Crimeni, a football player headed to Muhlenberg College;
- Tim Donahue, a football player who will play for Fordham;
- Tori Gerstenacker who will play soccer for Rutgers Camden;
- Kendal Hand who will run track for Lafayette;
- Carmine Palummo who will play baseball for Iona;
- Taylor Szyarto who will play soccer for the University of New Haven;
- Paul Maclean who will play soccer for William Paterson.