By BRIAN CUNNIFF
There were a lot of smiles in the conference room at the Lower Cape May Regional Board of Education office building Wednesday afternoon.
Ten senior student-athletes from Lower Cape May Regional High School were honored for making commitments to continue their athletic careers at the college level.
The group included four athletes who are set to receive partial athletic scholarship money to play at Division II schools – Christina Adams (Nova Southeastern, track and cross country), Melani Amador (Chestnut Hill, lacrosse), Marissa Giancola (Kutztown, lacrosse) and Madison Sloan (Lock Haven, softball).
The other six are set to play college sports at the Division III level. They include Leah Jones (Wesley, field hockey), Jordan Klein (Widener, football), R.J. Lamoreux (Ursinus, football), Joe McGhee (Kean, football), Cecilie Reeb (Western Connecticut State, field hockey) and Katya Simonsen (Cabrini, field hockey).
Adams is one of the top cross country and track athletes in LCMR history. She holds records in the 5K for cross country and the 3200, 4×400 relay, distance medley relay and sprint medley relay in track.
Adams, also a top competitor on Lower Cape May’s swim team, chose Nova Southeastern, located in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., over Rider, Florida Gulf Coast, St. Leoand the University of Tampa.
“I just really liked how close the team was and how nice the coaches were and how much of a family atmosphere there was (at Nova Southeasten),” said Adams, who plans to major in nutrition.
Adams smiled when asked if the chance to go to school in a warm-weather climate was a factor.
“It’s going to be hot, but it’s going to be worth it,” she said.
Amador was one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s top lacrosse goalies for the past four seasons. This season as a senior, she made 262 saves on 448 shots for an impressive .585 save percentage. She helped the Lady Tigers go 16-5 this spring.
“It’s going to be a great experience going (to Chestnut Hill),” Amador said. “I’m the first person in my family to go to college, so it really means a lot.
Amador plans to major in criminal justice. She chose Chestnut Hill over Wesley and Stockton.
Giancola entered Lower Cape May as a three-sport athlete but eventually gravitated more toward lacrosse. She posted 56 goals and 37 assists as a senior and finished her career with 183 goals and 76 assists.
“From eighth grade until my junior year, I was kind of set on soccer,” Giancola said. “But my junior year I sort of hit my peak with lacrosse and I started getting (college) offers from coaches. That kind of made me just want to play lacrosse in the long run.”
Giancola chose Kutztown over East Stroudsburg, Bloomsburg and Kean.
“The first time I got on campus I was smiling,” she said. “I loved everything about it. I felt like I smiled the whole time.”
Giancola said she is interested in studying marketing and graphic design but also plans to take courses in criminal justice.
Sloan committed to Lock Haven about nine months ago. The shortstop batted .410 with five home runs, 15 RBI and 26 runs scored. She posted an OPS of 1.251.
“I wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too close but wasn’t too far away, either,” Sloan said. “The program is really good and it’s a smaller school and it’s also in a very pretty area.”
Sloan said she plans to major in criminal justice.
“I’m glad to be able to keep playing in college and that this year wasn’t my last year of playing,” she said. “I’m excited for the experience in college. I’ll get to learn new things and meet a lot of people.”