Area student-athletes make college commitments

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By Jeff Appelblatt

For a number of years, the first of February has officially become the day for student-athletes to announce the colleges they will be going to the next school year. Many of the athletes even sit down and sign Letters of Intent.

Many student-athletes from the Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) took part in the annual activity Feb. 1.

Marlboro High School had its first football player take part in publicly signing a Letter of Intent in almost nine years. That was Nnamdi Unachuwku, who signed with Bucknell University.

“It has been about nine years since we had a player go on to sign a National Letter of Intent and receive scholarship money. The last player was E.J. Tucker, who played at West Point for Army,” Marlboro football coach Jason Dagato said. “It’s special to me because I really enjoy seeing kids who love this game get an opportunity to continue their playing careers.”

The four-year head coach expects Unachuwku to succeed at the next level. In fact, he sees a great four years for the defensive end.

“I believe Nnamdi has found a great home at Bucknell. Academics is of the utmost importance to him and his family, as it should be, and I feel this is a dream come true for Nnamdi,” Dagato said. “Nnamdi made it clear to everyone he spoke to that academics was his absolute top priority. He gets the opportunity to continue his football career at a school where he can get an incredible education. He’s extremely excited and it was an exciting moment for everyone involved in the program.

“As for his personal future, I feel Nnamdi has an incredibly high ceiling. He’s a very tall and lean kid who has good explosion in him. He still has tons of growth in front of him, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him 20-30 pounds heavier a year from now, which will only help him on the field.”

Other Marlboro student-athletes will continue playing soccer in college:

  • Steven Karp — Roger Williams University
  • Ryan LaRocca — Drew University
  • James Weinberg — Seton Hall University

Many of the other high school teams in the district have boys and girls they expect a bright future for after they chose their colleges:

Colts Neck High School

  • Rebecca Bock (lacrosse) — University of Hartford
  • Kevin Berry (cross-country) — Princeton University
  • Anthony Russo (cross-country) — University of Pennsylvania
  • Carmen Catena (football) — Salisbury University
  • Steven Barsky (football) — Tufts University
  • Bryce Campbell (football) — Long Island University Post
  • Louis Reale (soccer) — The American International University in London

Freehold High School

  • Thomas Boyle (soccer) — St. Bonaventure College
  • Thomas Holdorf (baseball) — Seton Hall University
  • Alyssa Lezamiz (gymnastics) — Gannon University
  • Nick Eccleston (football) — Wagner College
  • Mike Belka (baseball) — Salem International University
  • Dan Chisuano (baseball) -— Kean University
  • Tori Tiefenthaler (field hockey) — The College of New Jersey
  • Gabriella Arancio (field hockey) — The College of New Jersey
  • Kailey Gouveia (field hockey) — Johnson and Wales University
  • Samantha Gabriele (softball) — Centenary College
  • Kaleigh Rudic (soccer) — The College of New Jersey

Freehold Township High School

  • Adrian Barajas (soccer) — Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Angela Barajas (soccer) — Iona College
  • Julian Kislin (ice hockey) — Northeastern University
  • Anthony Lotti (football) — University of Pennsylvania
  • Alyssa Reszkowski (soccer) — Seton Hall University
  • Kiersten Reszkowski (soccer) — Stony Brook University
  • Nicole Sasso (soccer) — Marist College
  • Kyle Trainor (soccer) — Susquehanna University

Manalapan High School

  • L’Jeron Holder (football) — Temple University
  • Mya Donnelly (soccer) — Wagner College
  • Rocky Garretson (soccer) — Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Dariya Yefremenko (fencing) — University of Notre Dame

These college seniors are looking forward to the next step in their respective sports.

“I think it’s great for the community to see that and know that those opportunities are not passing our kids by,” Dagato said. “It feels great to know that the tons of emails and text messages and phone calls that were sent out to colleges has paid off.”