‘Just so excited to be ... making it official’
Baltimore-area athletes cement ties with colleges as signing period opens
As Notre Dame Prep senior Katie Railey sat with 11 of her lacrosse teammates preparing to sign their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, she thought about many of them as little girls.
“A lot of these girls play for my club team, and seeing everyone grow up from when they were little to now, it really seemed possible that all of us could go and sign. It’s really cool,” said Railey, who signed with Virginia.
Railey and her Blazers teammates were among dozens of high school athletes from around the Baltimore area who signed letters of intent to receive college athletic scholarships to Division I or Division II programs on National Signing Day, the first day of the early signing period for lacrosse, basketball, baseball, softball and most other sports.
Around a crowded table in the NDP athletic center, Keegan Barger (Johns Hopkins), Emily Cooper (Marquette), Grace Haus (Florida), Lucy Lowe (Penn State), Luisa Mangione (Virginia Commonwealth), Natalya Moody (George Mason), Brooke Myrick (Gardner Webb), Paulina Perkovich (Iona), Halle Regan (Vanderbilt) and Allison Stofregen (Monmouth) also signed their letters of intent, along with equestrian Lauren Rachuba (Texas A&M).
“It’s just so exciting,” Regan said after signing. “I’ve worked so hard for this, and my family, my coaches, everyone I’ve been through school with supported me and I’m just so excited to finally be signing my letter, finally making it official.”
The Blazers’ lacrosse senior class includes 16 players, and assistant coach
Brian Hartman, filling in while coach Mac Ford was out of town, said all likely will play lacrosse in college.
“This senior class is off the charts,” Hartman said.
For Barger, one of two Blazers who will stay close to home — the other is Navy commit Gillian Eby — it was hard to believe signing day had finally arrived.
“It was kind of weird, taking it in,” Barger said.
The Notre Dame Prep ceremony honored 23 seniors bound for college sports, including six planning to play Division III lacrosse. Soccer players Ashley Gabor (Penn) and Erica Carpenter (Saint Francis, Pa.) were also on honored, although signing day for soccer — and football — is in February. Panthers’ Davis waits a while: St. Frances forward Mia Davis, the area’s top senior girls basketball player, can’t wait to sign with Temple, though she won’t do so until Wednesday, the final day of the early signing period.
“It actually feels great that it’s almost here,” said Davis, who plans to become a doctor.
Davis committed to the Owls last month over 20 other offers. An All-Metro forward and the area’s premier rebounder last season, she averaged 17.6 points and 14 rebounds for the No. 1 Panthers, the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champions. From Cardinals to Buckeyes: At Calvert Hall’s ceremony Wednesday afternoon, the steady stream of standout lacrosse players signing to play at Ohio State continued with All-Metro first-team attackman JT Bugliosi and midfielder Omari DeBerry excited by the prospect of becoming Buckeyes.
The current Ohio State roster has two Calvert Hall graduates — junior Erik Evans and senior Johnny Kelly — with a lengthy list of past Cardinals already through the program.
“I just had a really good experience when I went out for my visit and obviously with the pipeline out there, it was very comfortable,” said Bugliosi, who plans to study finance.
The two programs have a bond stemming from a charity college lacrosse scrimmage every fall featuring Ohio State and Calvert Hall coach Bryan Kelly’s alma mater, North Carolina. All proceeds benefit the Michael R. Breschi Scholarship Fund, which honors the late son of North Carolina coach Joe Breschi, formerly the coach at Ohio State. In 2004, when Joe Breschi was at Ohio State, Michael was 3 years old when he was killed after being hit by an SUV. Ducks in a row: It’s right around 2,830 miles from Severna Park to Eugene, Ore., but four local high school girls lacrosse seniors began that journey when they put pen to paper and formally committed to Oregon on Wednesday afternoon.
Severna Park’s Molly Carr and Claire Domshick, and Archbishop Spalding’s Lillian Stump and Allison Mervine are among the local prep athletes to commit to colleges and universities around the country during the start of the early signing period, which began Wednesday and lasts through next Wednesday. They will join a team that finished with a 9-8 record last season, good for sixth place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Foundation. The program, heading into its 13th season, is known for attracting Maryland talent out west.
“I want to go out there and explore new things, and it is nice to go out there knowing people and just having time playing a sport that you love,” Carr said.
The Ducks have several Anne Arundel County players on their current roster, including Natalie Modley (St. Mary’s), Rachel Steinberg (Severn) and Bella Pyne (South River), who helped make the local players feel at home in Eugene.
“It really helped to talk to the Maryland girls and just getting confirmation that they loved it out there,” Domshick said. “At the same time, we stayed with a girl from Portland, and she really showed us around and gave us an idea of how beautiful it is out there, and how much there is to do.”
Carr and Domshick are two pieces of Kaitlyn Fuller’s solid senior class, which had five players sign letters of intent Wednesday, including Katie DeFeo, who is heading to USC, one of Oregon’s main rivals.
Notre Dame Prep seniors, including Keegan Barger, front, and Lauren Rachuba, next to Barger, sign their National Letter of Intent forms Wednesday. Barger, a lacrosse player, signed with Johns Hopkins and Rachuba, an equestrian, with Texas A&M.