With their signature, 16 of Penn Manor’s finest student athletes are on their way to bigger and better competition.
“We are very proud of that and I think it shows where our athletic programs have come and gone,” said Penn Manor Athletic Director Jeff Roth.
Feb. 3 was national Signing Day for high school seniors all around the country. This is the first day senior student athletes can sign the letter of intent that tells the university or college that they are accepting their scholarship to play athletics at that school.
National Signing Day has grown over the years. ESPN devotes the whole day to recruiting. Many Division 1 athletes let the public know via national television what school they will be attending on that day.
National Signing Day has become a big day for Penn Manor seniors as well.
The first year Signing Day was held at Penn Manor, there was only two participants. This year 16 student athletes participated in the ceremony, second only to the 2009 class which had 17 students sign to play college sports.
“Last two classes have been our best classes,” said Roth.
The class consists of five Division I, five Division II and six Division III athletes.
The recruiting process for most of these athletes started a couple of years ago.
“When we go to big tournaments or get really far in the season like districts or states, a lot of coaches come and watch you,” said field hockey goalie and future University of Shippensburg student Carenna Neely, “You have to be at least a sophomore and they (college coaches) can send you letters, and then right before your senior year they are allowed to call you.”
For baseball player Pat Welsh, who will be attending Division I School Marist College in New York, college athletics became an actuality for him when high school started.
“It doesn’t really start to become a reality until you hit high school and you realize people are watching you and it can really happen,” said Welsh.
For some athletes like Andrew Hershey, who signed with York College to play baseball, they have to get the ball rolling to start the recruiting process.
“It started when I took the initiative and filled out a recruiting form online,” said Hershey.
Hershey had a dilemma though.
“I have (wanted) to go to Pitt all my life, but York gave me the opportunity to study and play baseball at the same time, I just couldn’t pass that up.”
For Welsh though, he knew Marist was the place for him.
“It wasn’t a tough decision just cause at Marist I felt comfortable, they have a good baseball program, and very good academically, I feel like it was a good fit for me,” said Welsh.
All high school senior athletes have to take into consideration academics, when deciding what school they want to attend.
“I’m good but I’m not sure I’m going to go pro, academics are my fallback,” said Hershey.
In addition to Welsh, Neely and Hershey, the following students signed to play athletics at college:
Pete DeLuca, Jacksonville University, Lacrosse
Jill Witmer, University of Maryland, Field Hockey
Kelly Harsh, Lock Haven University, Field Hockey
Nancy Stehman, West Chester University, Field Hockey
Rachel Hess, Shippensburg University, Soccer
Brittany Lapp, Shippensburg University, Soccer
Ashley Vellucci, Shippensburg University, Soccer
Derek Sauder, Shippensburg University, Football
Forrest Lovett, Colby College, Basketball
Megan Harris, Lebanon Valley College, Field Hockey
Taylor Eichelberger, Alvernia University, Field Hockey
Nikki Kremer, Penn State Berks, Soccer
Shannon Henry, University of Mary Washington, Soccer
By Cody Straub