Twelve Spartans Sign to Play Collegiate Sports

Twelve Spartans Sign to Play Collegiate Sports

On Feb. 2, 12 members of the St. Stephen’s Class of 2022 signed National Letters of Intent to continue their sports careers in college next fall. These outstanding student-athletes have worked hard, not only in the classroom, but in their athletic pursuits as well.

Athletic Director Jon McCain was thrilled to see so many Spartans plan to play at the collegiate level. “I am proud of these students, who have dedicated their time and energy to their classwork and their sport,” he said. “We are excited to see what the future holds for each of them and know that they will do well in all of their endeavors.”

Congratulations to these amazing Spartans!

Matthew Aitchison will continue his academic and soccer career at Lehigh University this fall. “Matthew has worked hard during his time at St. Stephen’s to develop both the technical and tactical areas of his game and has done so to great effect,” said Soccer Academy Program Head Shane Maguire. “These will serve him well as he enters college sports. His greatest strengths, however, are his attitude and commitment. This young man is the personification of the Spartan creed “with this shield or on it.” I know of no athlete who has given more blood, sweat and tears for his team. We will follow his career with pride.”

Gabby Barnett will attend the University of Miami, where she will join the crew team and continue her academic career. “Gabby has a grit and determination about her that make her special,” said Head Volleyball Coach and Program Head Juliann Johnson. “Not only is she a talented athlete, but she works hard in all areas of her life. I am so proud to have coached her in her senior year. I was able to witness firsthand her incredible work ethic and leadership. I am excited to see her go on to the University of Miami and do great things with the crew team.”

Parker Benningfield is headed to Colby College to play football and continue his academic pursuits. “Parker was one of the most disciplined and impactful team-oriented players on the football team this past season,” said Head Football Coach Jay Patterson. “I cannot express my gratitude enough for the practice time Parker put in, both during and outside of football season, which contributed to the team winning the state championship this season and Parker earning All-State as a kicker. The coaching staff and I wish him the best at Colby College.”

Aidan Castanon signed to continue his academic and track and field pursuits at Middlebury College. “I knew Aidan would be a collegiate athlete when I saw him long jump in 8th grade and thought I was at a high school meet, not a middle school meet,” said Coach Paul Carrozza. “I knew then that he was bound for great things. He has such great range as an athlete. I look forward to following his athletic career in college.”

Kendall Dowd is bound for Stanford University, where she will continue her field hockey and academic careers. “Kendall is one of the most conscientious athletes I have ever coached,” said Field Hockey Head Coach Chelsea Richards. “She analyzes the game well, identifies opportunities for improvement and implements changes almost immediately. Perhaps more importantly, she is a stellar communicator and knows exactly how to address teammates to enact change. She has been the orchestrator of our team’s press and outlet for the past four years, and I cannot wait to see her take her game to the next level at Stanford!”

Ben Jones will pursue his basketball and academic career at Washington and Lee University. “I am so proud of this young man,” said Head Basketball Coach and Program Director La-Mont King. “On and off the court, Ben has been a consistent and hard-working player throughout his time at St. Stephen’s. Despite any adversity, he has always found a way to come back stronger. I cannot wait to see him play at the next level at Washington and Lee.”

Cooper Nichols will attend the College of Wooster this fall to play lacrosse at the next level. “Cooper Nichols is one of the most talented midfielders to come through St. Stephen’s,” said Lacrosse Program Head Noah Fink. “He has the goal of always wanting to be the best, and he expects the best of himself. He competes in every aspect of the game and is now in position to be the most dominant player on the offensive side of the field as well. Cooper will find success at the college level, as he continues to improve every time he steps on the field.”

Sam Palmer signed to attend Swathmore College to continue his lacrosse and academic careers. “Sam is one of the hardest working student athletes I have coached,” said Coach Noah Fink. “He is constantly working on his game and putting in the time to be the best. Sam is going to thrive at the collegiate level, as he will continue to improve and develop. He is not only a great individual player, but also a team player that we all would want in our corner.”

Sydney Rawie will go on to swim competitively at Dartmouth College this fall. “Sydney is going to be a great addition to the Dartmouth swimming program,” said Athletic Director Jon McCain, who is thrilled for her. “She is a committed student-athlete in every sense of the word. She will do amazing things, both in the classroom and in the pool.”

Jai Rapaka signed to play soccer at Swarthmore College this fall. “Jai is an outstanding student-athlete,” said St. Stephen’s Soccer Academy Coach Shane Maguire. “He is a talented and diligent player who can affect games in a number of positions. He is technically clean and athletically gifted. These qualities, paired with his soccer IQ, set him up to contribute to his collegiate program immediately. This amazing young man will achieve great things.”

Kira Rosen will attend Tufts University, where she will continue to run cross country and pursue her academic career. “Kira has shown her grit and determination by flourishing both athletically and academically at St. Stephen’s,” saidCoach Paul Carrozza. “I expect big things from her, both in college and beyond.”

Zoe Schaffer will head to Dartmouth College to continue her academic and field hockey careers. “Zoe’s tenacity on the field does not go unnoticed,” said Field Hockey Program Head Chelsea Richards. “When she is on the ball, she is a threat. Her crafty elimination skills and ability to distribute or get a shot off quickly is remarkable. Zoe’s defensive prowess and workrate off the ball, however, is what sets her apart. She  has a no-quit attitude and can guarantee that every one of our opponents knows that. I am thrilled that she is taking her talents to Dartmouth, and I cannot wait to see her dominate next fall!”

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