NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - 22 student-athletes were honored Wednesday night at New Providence High School for the first ever-signing night.
This past fall, the NCAA passed legislation that stated that all student athletes who didn’t have a signing day to sign their national letter of intent could now sign an official NCAA document that is recognized by the school.
The honorees, ranging from Division 1 to Division 3, were represented in a variety sports. One softball player, four swimmers, three track and field athletes, one volleyball player, three soccer players, one wrestler, one football player, and eight lacrosse players were all recognized by athletic director Rocco Constantino, who had some inspiring words to the future college stars.
“The best advice I can give to our student-athletes is to enjoy college and be ready to fight through the tough times you’ll experience as a college athlete,” Constantino said. “There will be a lot of late nights, a lot of early mornings, and there may be times where you wonder if it’s all worth it. Having coached close to 100 student-athletes at the college level before my time here, I can tell you for an absolute fact that is worth it to stick it out.”
Given that the school is on the smaller side, participating in either Group 1 or Group 2 across all sports, the amount of student-athletes that this high school produced is truly a testament to the prowess of all of the programs, from the coaching to the opportunities the athletes are presented.
In fact, the national average for high schools that send student-athletes off to participate in the NCAA is 6%, and NPHS clears that mark by a landslide, again proving how impressive the NPHS athletic program is.
“Technically, we should be sitting here with only a few kids, Constantino said, referring to the amount of students playing sports in college compared to the size of the school. “Instead, we have 21.”
Obviously, the student-athletes could not have achieved this accomplishment on their own, as a multitude of factors have contributed to their success, and Constantino certainly had a lot to say about these people.
“I can attribute that to a few outstanding factors. First, our student-athletes sitting up here today have committed themselves to bettering themselves as an athlete and have also just started to tap their athletic potential. Second, the teachers of New Providence should be thanked for helping these students academically to prepare for the next level. They’re student-athletes with “student” coming first and if they didn’t have the grades they wouldn’t be playing college sports at the next level. And finally, and to me the most important, are the coaches of New Providence High School. These are the people who work with our student athletes everyday and push them to be the best they can be and sacrifice so much time away from their own family for months at a time to give our student-athletes the best experience possible.”
The students honored at the event (sorted by sport) are the following:
- David Hua (University of Pennsylvania)
- Sara Misiukiewicz (Lehigh University)
- Jamie Riffel (Drew University)
- Erica Wirth (University of North Carolina)
Track and Field:
- Rafael Santos (York College)
- Jillian Turner (Brown University)
- Kelsey Turner (Brown University)
- Jimmy Evangelos (Gettysburg College)
- Sean Regan (University of Scranton)
- Maggie Roughley (Fordham University)
- Tyler Gazaway (Roger Williams University)
- Russell Davidson (Monmouth University)
- Emily Eng (Arcadia University)
- Elizabeth Mohan (University of the Sciences)
- Quinn Killeen (University of Scranton)
- Julia Nelson (Franklin and Marshall College)
- Michael Palmieri (Roger Williams University)
- Garrett Pope (Muhlenberg College)
- Johnny Shahpazian (Western New England University)
- Brandon Sisk (Moravian College)
- John Slater (Montclair State University)
- Jake Vignali (Lynchburg College)