Student-athletes around the area sign with their respective colleges of choice.
It’s that time of the year again as student-athletes from around the Observer coverage area sign their National Letters of Intent with their colleges of choice.
Windermere Prep kicked of the week with an Early National Signing Day event Wednesday, Nov. 13, as the Lakers had four student-athletes — Arianna and Angeline Bergner, Megan Ideda and Hiroshi Tai — sign on the dotted line.
For many of them, Wednesday afternoon’s event was the ending of a process that provided more stress than not — at least that was the case for Ideda.
“I wasn’t expecting it right away, because it’s kind of a last-minute thing — a lot of golf girls signed earlier,” said Ideda, who will be playing golf at The Citadel. “I was a little worried getting down to the wire, because I committed three weeks ago. Just the waiting process is a little nerve wracking, but I’m glad I was able to sign today and just knowing where I’ll be the next four years has definitely made me a little proud.”
On the other end of that spectrum is Tai, who signed on to play golf at Georgia Tech during his junior year.
Tai, however, will be taking a little bit of a different route as he has to go into national service in his home country of Singapore after he graduates early in December, meaning he won’t step onto Georgia Tech’s campus until January 2022.
Despite the wait, Tai said he’s excited to take to the links for the Yellow Jackets in a few years.
“They have a really good golf program the last couple of years,” Tai said. “I’ve talked to all of the recruits that are coming in in 2020, and I know another that’s a freshman there now, so I just know all of the guys on the team really well and I’m comfortable around them.”
Rounding out the group were the Bergner sisters, who are being given the chance to play on the beach volleyball team at Florida State University.
"The waiting process is a little nerve wracking, but I’m glad I was able to sign today and just knowing where I’ll be the next four years has definitely made me a little proud.”
— Megan Ideda
“It’s super exciting to say that we are going to Florida State, because my older sister went there,” Angeline Bergner said.
“We loved the campus and everything,” Arianna Bergner said. “And then we got to meet the team and the team was so much fun.”
Most of this week’s signing events took place Thursday, Nov. 14, and that includes West Orange High — which had 10 total signees across six different sports (baseball, beach volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball).
After listening to their respective coaches speak to the crowd about each student-athlete, seniors like Maverick Ferguson, Riley Fromberg and Cristina Roque signed alongside their fellow classmates.
“I’m relieved,” said Ferguson, who will be playing baseball at Ashland University (Ohio). “It has been a long journey, and it was tough because it’s a long time without knowing what you’re doing next year.”
Despite the worry — which is now long gone — Ferguson can look forward to traveling back to his home state to pursue his baseball dreams.
“I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, so I have family all over there,” he said. “So I’m just happy I’m going home to play college baseball.”
While Ferguson goes home to Ohio, some of West Orange’s athletes will be heading to a place that’s completely new to them.
Thomas Roth will head up to South Carolina next fall to play lacrosse at Limestone College. There, Roth will get to play with a team that plays for national championships just about every year — one of several reasons why Roth chose to become a Saint.
“Lacrosse is very big (there), and it’s one of the biggest D2 schools in the nation,” Roth said. “But I’m excited about the weather — being in the cold and have the season al change. And I’m excited about being on a higher level of lacrosse.”
Roth won’t be the only Warrior signing on to play for a national championship contender, as Cristina Roque signed to play on a Florida State women’s soccer team that just came off of a national title in 2018.
Roque will graduate from West Orange early and make it up to Tallahassee in January to join her new team, which is the most exciting aspect for her.
“I’m ready to meet the team and just spend time with them,” Roque said. “They’re all super nice.”
With a season filled with high expectations on the horizon, Ocoee basketball’s Alston Andrew and David Green signed with their respective colleges.
Andrews signed to play college basketball at Illinois State University and Green signed to play for Hofstra University. Andrews committed to the Redbirds on November 11.
Basketball wasn’t the only main factor in his decision to commit to Illinois State.
“Just the fit,” Andrews said. “The coaching staff is really good, they have my major (sports medicine), so I could be successful in school.”
For Green, his ability to grow both on and off the court, along with his relationship with the coaching staff, were the deciding factors in his commitment to Hofstra. Green committed on October 12.
“The coaching staff was really cool,” Green said. “And when I felt like it was like a home environment. It was somewhere I could go and I could be comfortable and grow not only as a player, but as a person. I just liked everything about it. It was perfect for me and they let me play my game and do what I like to do on the court, so I had to pull the trigger.”
Both players came to Ocoee High School as freshmen during John “Sarge” Siers second year as head coach at Ocoee.
“I’m super excited for both young men,” Siers said. “They came to us as freshmen with a dream and their hard work has turned their dream into a reality.”
— NATE MARRERO
SIGNEES AROUND THE AREA
*Note this list will be updated as new signees are named
Carlos Lopez, baseball — Indian River State College
Kaitlyn Montague, soccer (women) — University of Illinois-Chicago
Marika Virthe, volleyball (women) — Northeastern University
Victoria Zarazel, volleyball (women) — Daytona State College
Jessica Corredor, wrestling (women) — Missouri Baptist University
Alston Andrews, basketball (men) — Northern Illinois University
David Green, basketball (men) — Hofstra University
Chenoa Johnson, basketball (women) — University of Tampa
Jonah Leach, golf (men) — University of Florida
Trevor Hodges, lacrosse (men) — Ohio Wesleyan University
Jadyn Pike, volleyball (women) — Eastern Florida State College
THE FIRST ACADEMY
Brett Kelly, baseball — UNC-Greensboro
Kamron Summers, basketball (men) — United States Naval Academy
Ariel Yu, golf (women) — Vanderbilt University
Sampson Zheng, golf (women) — Cal-Berkeley
Ella Simpson, soccer (women) — Samford University
Elli McKissock, volleyball (women) — University of Florida
Joe DeLuzio, volleyball (men) — Pepperdine University
Sam Broderson, baseball — Wingate University
Maverick Ferguson, baseball — Ashland University
Anthony Garcia, baseball — St. Petersburg College
Alyssa Keller, beach volleyball (women) — University of South Carolina
Thomas Roth, lacrosse (men) — Limestone College
Cristina Roque, soccer (women) — FSU
Bryce Adkinson, softball — Murray State
Riley Fromberg, softball — St. Petersburg College
Sara Leach, softball — Eastern Florida State College
Tara English, volleyball (women) — Florida State College
Carlos Anderson, baseball — West Virginia Wesleyan
Jason Grant, baseball — West Virginia Wesleyan
Carson Montgomery, baseball — FSU
Tyler Ostendorf, baseball — West Virginia Wesleyan
Onix Ortiz, cross country (men) — UNF
Faith Campopiano, softball — Webber International
Gabby Defranco, softball — Piedmont College
Christina Fleming, softball — Furman University
Taylor Head, volleyball (women) — University of Arkansas
Arianna Bergner, beach volleyball (women) — FSU
Angeline Bergner, beach volleyball (women) — FSU
Megan Ideda, golf (women) — The Citadel
Hiroshi Tai, golf (women) — Georgia Tech