It’s that time of the year: We’re making a list of which Western New York high school athletes will continue to play sports in college. And the list keeps growing.
It’s an impressive list in both quantity – boys lacrosse has 45 players who will play in college, including 10 in Division I, for instance – and quality, as there are local athletes joining major college programs in almost every sport.
Many of those Division I athletes have been familiar faces for several seasons: Silver Creek lacrosse’s Zed Williams (Virginia), Clarence baseball’s Mark Armstrong (Pittsburgh), Hamburg softball’s Bridget Hogan (Niagara), Roy-Hart wrestling’s Drew Hull (Virginia), Grand Island basketball’s Cassie Oursler (Robert Morris), Sacred Heart basketball’s La’Trice Hall (Hartford) and Canisius College-bound basketball players Adam Weir (Canisius High) and Jermaine Crumpton (Niagara Falls).
But there are also impressive names – and destinations – from baseball to volleyball, with a little bit of everything in between – such as equestrian (yes, you read that right).
Our complete list is at the Prep Talk blog, and it is based on our reporting this year and what has been reported to us this year. But it is a work in progress, one in which your input is invaluable. If there’s a name not on the list that should be, email me at email@example.com or tweet to @KeithMcSheaBN with the athlete, their high school and the college (please include the collegiate level: Division III, NAIA, etc.).
Here are some highlights:
• For the first time, Williamsville North has two baseball players going Division I: Tyler Green is headed to Vanderbilt and Kyle Zurak to Radford. It’s part of a high-quality list of major-college baseball players, many of whom will be playing either this evening in the Section VI semifinals or in Saturday’s tremendous Georgetown Cup semifinal doubleheader.
Armstrong will pitch against Orchard Park tonight in the semifinals, while Lancaster and Ben Haefner (University at Buffalo) head up to Lockport in the other half of the final four.
There are several Division I players who are staying in Western New York for college baseball who will be playing in the Georgetown Cup semifinals, which start with St. Mary’s (University at Buffalo signees Brian Dudek and Chris Kwitzer) taking on Canisius at 10 a.m. Canisius’ roster includes Canisius College signee Kyle Liszewski as well as Jack Trotman, who will play at a UMass-Lowell program which is ascending to Division I. St. Joe’s and its trio of Jared Baldinelli (St. Bonaventure), Donny Kilian (UB) and Matt Matre (Canisius College) will face red-hot St. Francis, winners of 14 straight.
• Year in, year out, there is a long list of girls volleyball players moving on; they almost exclusively come out of the highly successful Niagara Frontier Volleyball club. There are 18 on this year’s list, including Alexandra Brown of Grand Island (Maryland), Allyson Rung of Williamsville East (Boston University), Emily Hopkins of Williamsville North (Niagara), Rachel Moll of Immaculata (Hartford) and Breanna Opera of Lancaster (St. Francis, Pa.).
• While Crumpton has been set for Canisius for some time, he also has two Niagara Falls basketball teammates heading to college via scholarships: Ramir Burton (Division II St. Edwards in Texas) and J.J. Wilkins (Polk State Community College in Florida).
• On Tuesday, senior Jaylen Morris of St. Joe’s basketball signed a scholarship offer to Division II Molloy College of Queens.
• No, there are no state high school championships in equestrian, but Buffalo Seminary senior Charlotte Jacobs is an accomplished rider who will compete for Southern Methodist University.
• Rowing helps students attend some quality colleges and the list is always worth a look. This list will certainly get longer as we collect more information. The signees are: Canisius’ Reid Yankowski (California-Berkley), Mark Hirschbeck (Cornell) and Jack Sardinia (Georgetown) and Nardin’s Tessa Yurko (Michigan), Mary Bridge (North Carolina) and Alex Gunner (Miami).
• One of the area’s top perennial programs is Nichols girls hockey; its seniors include Maddie Elia, (Boston University), Haley Scamurra (Northeastern) and Kelly Seward (Penn State).
• Canisius’ Ryan Hunter (Bowling Green) may have been the only major Division I football signing, but Western New York always sends many players to high-quality Division III programs. Our list of students playing next year is at 30 and will certainly grow.
• Topping the girls lacrosse list are two players from Hamburg, who you can see play for the Class B title Wednesday: Megan Mikolajek (Albany) and Taylor Wolf (Niagara).
A jump on 2014 & ’15
There’s already a list to start for not just next year, but the year after that.
Among the juniors who have committed to Division I programs are some who will be playing in Tuesday’s boys lacrosse championships: Brennan Ferguson of Niagara-Wheatfield (Syracuse) and Adam Dimillo (Maryland) and Connor Fields (Albany) of Bishop Timon-St. Jude.
Moriah Harris of Clarence softball (which plays a quarterfinal today) has committed to Canisius College. In girls volleyball, there is Eden’s Lainy Pierce (Penn State) and Frontier’s Sydney Rojek (Marist).
There are also a pair of sophomores who have already committed: Leah Meyer of St. Mary’s girls volleyball has verbally committed to Duke while Randolph girls basketball standout Mckenna Maycock will play at St. Bonaventure.