College commitment

 

College commitment

 

Date: February 12, 2014
by: Jen Blanco | Sports Editor

 
 

EAST COUNTY — Nine Braden River and Lakewood Ranch High School student-athletes officially announced their intention to play collegiate sports during National Signing Day Feb. 5.

National Signing Day may have marked the official day football players could sign letters of intent, but soccer, track and cross-country athletes stole the show in the East County.

Six athletes signed soccer scholarships; three signed track and cross-country scholarships.
Players signed with schools across Florida, as well as in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina and Massachusetts.

Here’s a look at where this year’s National Signing Day athletes are headed.

Mitch Arnold, 17
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Track and cross-country

College Choice: University of Tampa

Deciding Factor: “It’s a great school and a beautiful campus,” Arnold says. “I just fell in love with the school. Everything about it is what I wanted.”

Other Options: University of Central Florida
Intended Major: Sports management

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s definitely great having all of these people come here and support us,” Arnold says. “It’s exciting to know I’m officially running next year.”

Kat Elliott, 18
School: Braden River

Sport: Soccer

Position: Goalie

College Choice: University of South Florida

Deciding Factor: The coaching staff. “They really care about their players,” Elliott says.

Other Options: Eckerd College

Intended Major: Undecided

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s a rush,” Elliott says. “It’s the next four years. I’m just looking forward to the different level of play and the challenge of having a new group of girls to play with.”

Juliana Guida, 18
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Soccer

Position: Defender

College Choice: Florida Southern College

Deciding Factor: “It’s just the perfect fit,” Guida says. “It’s a small school, and I loved the team and the coaches. The coach is my club coach.”

Other Options: Barry University

Intended Major: Undecided

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s exciting and relieving,” Guida says.

Abigail Holmes, 17
School: Braden River

Sport: Soccer

Position: Center midfield

College Choice: Miami University

Deciding Factor: The location, coaching staff and marine-science program

Other Options: Florida Institute of Technology

Intended Major: Marine biology

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s really bittersweet,” Holmes says. “There’s so much expected of you now, so I’m nervous about that, but, at the same time, I’m really excited.”

Michelle Last, 18
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Track and cross-country

College Choice: Southern Wesleyan University

Deciding Factor: “I connected really well with the coaches,” Last says.

Other Options: University of Tampa and the University of North Florida

Intended Major: Exercise science for physical therapy

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s really exciting,” Last says.

Alex Latham,18
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Soccer

Position: Goalie

College Choice: Northwestern State University

Deciding Factor: “The coaches were very friendly and accommodating to what I needed,” Latham says.

Other Options: Rollins College

Intended Major: Computer science

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s surreal that it’s actually here,” Latham says. “I just signed four years away.”

Emily Perez, 17
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Track and cross-country

College Choice: Southeastern University

Deciding Factor: “I’ve wanted to go there since the third grade,” Perez says.

Intended Major: Criminal justice

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s surreal,” Perez says. “I always remember watching my former teammates sign, and I never imagined I would be signing, too. But I’m really happy that I am.”

Bobby Photos, 17
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Soccer

Position: Defender

College Choice: Anna Maria College

Deciding Factor: The overall campus

Other Options: Eastern University

Intended Major: Criminal justice

Reaction: “It’s exciting because I know where I’m going,” Photos says.

Bri Reda, 17
School: Lakewood Ranch

Sport: Soccer

Position: Center midfield

College Choice: Georgia Southwestern State University

Deciding Factor: “I really liked the coaches, and when I trained with (the head coach) and the team, they were really welcoming,” Reda says. “I wanted out of state.”

Other Options: Columbus State University

Intended Major: Occupational therapy

Signing Day Reaction: “It’s so exciting,” Reda says. “It’s honestly one of the best feelings I’ve had in high school yet, and to have two of my best friends sign with me makes it so much better.”

Contact Jen Blanco at jblanco@yourobserver.com

 

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