Piscataway Student Athletes Commit to Play College Sports

Front (left to right): Larry McCullum; Yamirah Bennett Bernabela; Matthew Peterson - Back (left to right): Coaches Pete Buccino; Chris Puder; Dan Higgins Credits: Kenneth Simmons
(left to right): Larry McCullum; Yamirah Bennett Bernabela; Matthew Peterson Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Yamirah Bennett Bernabela with a family member Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Larry McCullum (seated) with Track and Field Coach Pete Buccino Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Larry McCullum (seated) with Coach Pete Buccino and family members Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Matthew Peterson with a family member Credits: Kenneth Simmons

PISCATAWAY, NJ – At a gathering of family members, teammates, and friends from Piscataway high school, three PHS student athletes signed their letters of intent, joining college teams to continue their athletic careers after they graduate this June.

Larry McCullum will become a member of the Manhattan College track and field team in Riverdale, NY; Yamirah Bennett Bernabela will play basketball at Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Tacoma Park, MD; and Matthew Peterson joins the Utica College Pioneers football program in Utica, NY.

At Wednesday’s spring National College Signing Day in the high school’s media center, the three students expressed their excitement of moving to the next level of their athletic careers where they hope to improve on their skills and achievements.

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“My goal is to break school records and get to the national championship,” said McCullum, a sprinter who has been a leading points scorer and MVP for the Chiefs. He expects to compete on the Jasper’s relay teams and run in the 100, 200, and 400-meter races.

Bennett said she hopes to improve her basketball skills when she gets to WAU. “I’m excited and can’t wait to start the next level,” she remarked. “Hopefully I will become stronger in my defense and offense.”

“I hope to fit into my position [so I can] play well and play fundamentally sound,” said Peterson, a safety for the Chiefs. And while he plans to work hard on the football field for the Pioneers, he said he will work just as hard with his studies in the health professions.

“You’ll become masters of your college like you did for our school,” PHS track and field coach Pete Buccino told the signers. “It’s a big step to become a college athlete.”

Girls basketball coach, Chris Puder advised them to stay focused on their education. “Make sure you finish your degree,” he said. “You’ll go on to do great and better things.”

“PWay Nation couldn’t be prouder to send our athletes out into the world,” said head football coach, Dan Higgins. “This is probably the proudest thing we can do as coaches is to see our kids move up. This is a stepping stone to the future.”

PHS principal, Jason Lester reminded the student athletes that they are prepared to move forward.

“All of these young people do a tremendous job not only on the field but in the classroom,” he said. “You’re going to continue that preparation through hard work, dedication to your craft, and time well spent.”

“That’s how good results happen,” said Lester. “You wouldn’t be sitting here if you didn’t prepare.” is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.

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