Abing­ton ath­letes cel­e­brate col­lege sign­ing day

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SPORTS - By An­drew Robin­son arobin­[email protected]­tu­ry­media.com @ADRobin­son3 on Twit­ter

The turn­ing point in Jamira Mashore’s ath­letic ca­reer came in ninth grade.

She didn’t make the var­sity girls lacrosse team at Abing­ton while a num­ber of other fresh­men did, serv­ing up plenty of motivation. Mashore never missed the cut again and the se­nior at­tacker used the fuel to earn her way to next level at Winthrop.

Mashore, along with se­nior team­mates Anna Joseph and Ka­ley Eh­now, were among 10 Abing­ton ath­letes to cel­e­brate their col­lege sign­ings Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“It be­came more se­ri­ous for me in sev­enth grade, I’d al­ways liked watch­ing lacrosse on TV and I wanted to be on TV play­ing lacrosse,” Mashore said. “My fresh­man year, I didn’t make var­sity but it only made me work harder be­cause I was on JV and ev­ery­one else I’d played with grow­ing up was on var­sity.”

Mashore grew up play­ing mul­ti­ple sports, but ev­ery time she’d go into Five Be­low, she’d play around with one of the mini lacrosse fid­dle sticks in the store and the seed was planted. Winthrop was the first school to show in­ter­est, when she was a sopho­more, and Mashore de­cided then it was where she wanted to be.

“I knew it was time to work harder, get in the gym and start tak­ing ex­tra shots,” Mashore said.

Joseph, a de­fender, also knew there was just one place she saw her­self play­ing. While she’s com­mit­ted to East Carolina, the real hur­dle was fig­ur­ing out if she did want to play in col­lege.

Luck­ily for her, she had the just the right team­mates.

“When I was a fresh­men, all the ju­niors were go­ing Divi­sion I and they were my motivation,” Joseph said. “They al­ways worked so hard and I de­cided I wanted to be like them. It made me want to play in col­lege at their level.”

Joseph, who started out as a mid­fielder, is one of the play­ers the Ghosts count on most to tran­si­tion the ball from the back into at­tack.

“When I came in as a fresh­man, I made var­sity but I had no idea what I was do­ing on de­fense,” Joseph said. “I thought I knew ev­ery­thing, but my coach at the time, Amanda Kammes, she taught me ev­ery­thing I needed to know to play de­fense.”

Eh­now, who has signed with Elon, is Abing­ton’s draw con­trol spe­cial­ist but has also be­come one of the team’s best all-around at­tack­ers af­ter a strong ju­nior sea­son. The se­nior nar­rowed her list down to Elon and Tow­son, but picked Elon due to the coach­ing staff and the at­mos­phere at the team prac­tices she at­tended dur­ing re­cruit­ing.

“My coach fresh­man year, she left a big im­pact and she told me early she thought I had what it takes,” Eh­now, who also played vol­ley­ball at Abing­ton, said. “I started look­ing into it as soon as she said that. I was so in­ter­ested in it and I’m just re­ally ex­cited.”

BROWN’S BREAK­OUT >> Grow­ing up, peo­ple al­ways told Kas­son­dra Brown to play bas­ket­ball be­cause she was tall.

It turned to be pretty good ad­vice, but only due to the end­less hours of work Brown put in on and off the court. The all-state for­ward, who’s made tremen­dous growth since her fresh­man year, has turned into one of the best post play­ers in Penn­syl­va­nia and will be con­tin­u­ing her ca­reer at Rhode Is­land next year.

“It’s a dream come true, it was a goal to go D-I and it’s fi­nally hap­pen­ing and I’m ac­tu­ally a lit­tle ner­vous right now,” Brown said. “I think my sopho­more year was my best year and ever since then, my con­fi­dence has been through the roof and the sky is the limit.”

Brown also weighed of­fers from UMass, Prov­i­dence, Sa­cred Heart and Jack­sonville State but felt like Rhode Is­land had the best mix of aca­demics, ath­letic com­pe­ti­tion and a coach­ing staff that was

in­vest­ing in bring­ing the best out of her.

“It’s not too far, Jack­sonville State was like nine hours away and I didn’t think I could do that per­son­ally, but I liked the cam­pus and they re­ally have good aca­demics,” Brown said. “I re­ally felt com­fort­able.”

With a game that only kept im­prov­ing — Brown can step out and hit threes as eas­ily as she can power to a bucket on the block — it was nat­u­ral that more col­lege coaches got in­ter­ested.

“It made me feel re­ally good, at first I don’t think any­body knew about me, but now they know my name and I’m out there,” Brown said. “I feel re­ally good know­ing that.”

MAK­ING MON­ROE >> Lu­cas Mon­roe started out as a soc­cer player but it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore he found him­self with a bas­ket­ball in his hand.

His older brother Jor­dan was a pretty good player, and the per­son Mon­roe most looked up to, so he would sit in the drive­way while Jor­dan and his dad Ray­mond would do drills and even­tu­ally, he wanted in. Mon­roe, who still pos­sesses a deft soc­cer touch, joined in and fol­lowed his dad’s in­struc­tions to be­come a well-rounded guard now com­mit­ted to Penn.

“Just watch­ing him lit a spark in me that made me want to fol­low in his foot­steps,” Mon­roe said. “My dad, he used to do a lot of train­ing with younger kids and he thought ev­ery­one should learn how to be a guard no mat­ter how tall they are. He also harped on me that scor­ing isn’t the most im­por­tant thing.”

Mon­roe weighed plenty of of­fers, in­clud­ing sev­eral other Ivy League schools but felt a real con­nec­tion with his fu­ture team­mates on his vis­its to Penn. He added that the univer­sity is close enough that his fam­ily and friends can come watch him, and he’ll have some sep­a­ra­tion but not enough to make things feel for­eign.

A 6-foot-6 guard, Mon­roe can im­pact the game in a lot more ways than just scor­ing. He’s a strong passer, a good re­bounder and one of the team’s best de­fend­ers plus the se­nior just brings a strong game IQ to the floor.

Team­mate Eric Dixon also cel­e­brated his com­mit­ment to de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pion Vil­lanova on Thurs­day. Dixon, a 6-foot-8 for­ward, was named the 6A state player of the year last win­ter and be­gins the sea­son with 1,616 ca­reer points, good for third all-time in school his­tory.

LONG WAIT OVER >> Cam Lexow knew early on she wanted to play soc­cer at Vir­ginia.

The stand­out se­nior mid­fielder, who helped the Ghosts win the SOL Amer­i­can ti­tle this fall, at­tended a UVA ID Camp be­tween eighth and ninth grade where she put her­self on the Cava­liers’ radar. UVA coach Steve Swan­son, a for­mer USWNT as­sis­tant and U20 head coach, had some feed­back for Lexow.

“He had some crit­i­cisms and things to say, I knew I wanted to go there so I was able to work on those things,” Lexow said. “This sum­mer I went to an­other ID camp, he didn’t have as much to say, he felt I im­pacted games more but just be­ing able to talk to him and get ad­vice helps.”

Lexow gave a ver­bal com­mit­ment prior to her sopho­more year and said she’s been able to play with less stress since then, although she ad­mit­ted there was still pres­sure to play up to that pres­tige and also make sure her aca­demics were in line. A 4.0 GPA stu­dent, Lexow doesn’t have to worry about that part and hopes to ma­jor in some­thing re­lated to crim­i­nal jus­tice or foren­sics as an ad­mit­ted fan of shows like Crim­i­nal Minds and NCIS.

She also has am­bi­tions to play soc­cer pro­fes­sion­ally and felt UVA, one of the top pro­grams in the coun­try, would give her an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate that chance.

“I’ve been wait­ing a long time, but as it’s got­ten closer and closer I’ve felt the ex­cite­ment and nerves all built up in one,” Lexow said. “I know I have to go in ready and be fit but I’m re­ally ex­cited, proud of what I’ve ac­com­plished and I just can’t wait.”

Lexow will be play­ing in the High School All-Amer­i­can game in Or­lando, Florida on De­cem­ber 1 then join­ing the Ghosts girls’ bas­ket­ball team as a thirdyear starter this win­ter.

Also cel­e­brat­ing their sign­ings on Wed­nes­day were swim­mer Matthew Bon­nell, a dis­tance spe­cial­ist who is at­tend­ing Penn, diver Sam Hen­ninger, a high school Al­lAmer­i­can and de­fend­ing Dis­trict I cham­pion head­ing to La Salle and base­ball’s Grif­fin Wit­ten­berg, pri­mar­ily a catcher but a true team-first util­ity man who will play at Jef­fer­son Univer­sity.

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