Nine Padua athletes signed National Letters of Intent Wednesday, with two Delaware players of the year joining four others with Division I offers.
Volleyball standout Emily Jarome sat next to cross country star Lydia Olivere at a star-studded table, as they signed with Towson and Villanova, respectively.
They were joined by Ashlee Brentlinger, who is going to Florida Gulf Coast for soccer, and three rowers.
Emma Toy plans to paddle for West Virginia, Madeline Maier is heading to Harvard, while Angela Hallinan will make the Schuylkill River home at La Salle.
It was hard not to focus on Jarome and Olivere, however.
Olivere became Delaware’s first four-time Gatorade Runner of the Year as she continued her assault on the state’s record books at 3.1 miles.
Signing with Villanova puts Olivere in a program that has 9 NCAA championships at both the team and individual levels.
Among those individual champions is Wilmington’s Vicky Huber, who competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics the year before winning the NCAA title.
Olivere said she’s always respected her Delaware competition, but it looking forward to stepping it up to the next level on the Main Line.
“My biggest goal is to be a contributor. I’m excited to be able to be thrown into a mix of girls that are more talented and experienced, and to learn from them. I’m hoping to learn a lot from them.”
“I’ll be able to learn new racing strategies, and it will be a whole different level of racing.”
Emily Jarome forced her opponents on the volleyball courts to take their defense up a level or two, using her power to help guide the 2017 Pandas to a perfect regular season, before falling in the finals.
Her future will take her to a rival of the University of Delaware when she goes to Towson. Jarome realizes while her game has improved during her four years as a starter, she sees room to grow her game.
“I think my mindset is going to be my biggest adjustment. It will take a lot more thinking on the court to be successful on the court, instead of just using my power that I used in high school. I’m going to come upon girls who are the same size, or maybe bigger, and they hit harder, so it’s going to take time and effort to focus on what I need to do.”
Padua’s soccer team has been nationally ranked in recent years, and Ashlee Brentlinger has been a key contributer to that group.
The future biology major says she’s excited for the energy around the program, but is well aware that Florida Gulf Coast isn’t located in the north.
“You can’t beat Florida weather at all. It’s warm all year round and sunny. I just fell in love with the campus and knew it would be the right fit for me over the next four years of my life.”
Those three join the rowing trio of Emma Toy, Angela Hallinan, and Madeline Maier in competing for Division I schools.
In addition, two of Jarome’s volleyball teammates will continue their careers in college.
Katelyn McGonigal will serve at Bloomsburg, while Taylor Mueller heads to King’s College.
Abigail Hamilton completes the lineup, as she plans to play field hockey at Washington & Lee.
Just walking around Padua can look like an all-star team at times, and Jarome says the success of everyone, especially the 4-time Gatorade Player of the Year Olivere, was infectious.
“It helps everyone else try to strive to be better because we all want to be on that level and be successful.”
A year after having 18 seniors sign to go to college, Padua’s name will be on another 9 college rosters this fall, not bad at all.