NW athletes announce college plans
Northwestern Lehigh recently celebrated 21 student-athletes who have signed letters of intent to attend colleges all across the country. The schools are as far away as Michigan and as close as Schnecksville and as diverse as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The most recent group of student-athletes featured athletes from nine different sports, including bowling, which technically isn’t a high school sport offered at Northwestern.
Three students – Madeline Consuelos (Michigan), Maggie Motolese (St. Francis) and Alena Smargiassi (Connecticut) - will be attending Division 1 schools to continue their education and playing careers.
For football player Josh Gornicz, who will attend Grove City College in western Pennsylvania, his destination wasn’t even on the map when he started to look at colleges, but he is more than happy he found out about the school.
“I was recruited by them for football, but prior to that I didn’t even know about them,” Gornicz said with a smile. “I’m going to be a youth pastor when I grow up, so I wanted to go to a Christian school so I could get the education for that and play football.
“When I visited, I knew right away that’s where I wanted to go. I looked at some other colleges after that, just to be sure, but I knew that was where I wanted to go.”
Erin Vance will attend Tusculum University in Tennessee and will continue her bowling career on the school’s team. The unique choice probably goes to Alyssa Zack, who will compete in track and field and cross country at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Soccer players Sara Hathaway and Jaymi Smith will both play for Penn State – Berks in the fall. Two other student-athletes from different sports chose Lehigh Carbon Community College. Colten Hagadus will play baseball as a Cougar and Caleb Danner will play on the LCCC soccer team.
Hagadus’ teammate, Derek Holmes, will be staying close to home, playing and studying at Moravian College in Bethlehem. For Holmes, Moravian had all that he was looking for in a college.
“I just liked a lot about the school and since it’s close, my family will be able to see me play and I can be around home a little more,” said Holmes, who is ranked among the top players in the state. “It’s a chance to continue playing baseball and get a really good education.”
Sticking close to home has its advanta-
ges, although for Consuelos, getting away from home will add to her college experience and was part of her consideration for choosing Michigan. It didn’t hurt that her mom is a Michigan alum.
Gornicz finds himself between being close to home and traveling far away with his choice of Grove City.
“I like the thought of being on my own a little bit, but it also would be nice to be able to make it home a little more and be home for holidays a little easier than being four or five hours away,” said Gornicz.
Emily Akelaitis will attend Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to continue her education and be a part of the softball team. Akelaitis reached the 100-hit plateau this season and her younger sister, Anna, is set to reach the goal next season, which she’s hoping to see.
“It’s a good school and I really liked it when I visited,” she said. “Plus, my family can see me play and I can get home sometimes to see family and friends. I hope I can be here when Anna gets her 100th hit, that would be great.”
Baseball player Brandon Mengel is also staying within the state. He will join older brother Brady on the Mansfield University baseball team.
Two more players headed to schools within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference are field hockey players Sydney Derr and Taylor Page. Page is headed to Slippery Rock, while Derr, a successful high school pole vaulter, will attend Bloomsburg, where she will compete in field hockey in fall then turn to track and field in spring.
Tyler Slifer, a football teammate of Gornicz, is headed to Thaddeus Stevens College.
Zachary Creighton, who, along with Danner, was part of three state-playoff runs for the Tiger boys soccer team, is headed to Lebanon Valley College.
Meghan McDonald will attend Susquehanna University and compete on the track and field team.
And Shante Duminie is headed to Penn State - Berks to play womens volleyball.