In the past, the Athletic Department at Eastport South Manor High School had used the Board of Education room to hold its National Letter of Intent Signing Day. But on November 20, the school had to use its auditorium, thanks to the number of players who took the opportunity to declare which colleges they would attend in the future.
ESM had 16 student-athletes commit to their respective schools, the most during the five-year tenure of Athletic Director Bill Madsen. A year ago, seven ESM athletes signed their letters. This point in the year is also considered the early signing period for athletes—most sign their letters in February.
The majority of the players on hand at last week’s event hailed from boys and girls lacrosse, which made up 60 percent of the group. Kristen Anderson (Mercyhurst University), Megan Curley (Jacksonville University), Dakota Mason (University of Massachusetts), Kaitlyn Moran (Kennesaw State), Rebecca Tooker (James Madison) and Jackie Wasilko (University of Virgina) all committed to play girls lacrosse. Committing to boys lacrosse were Corey Cogan (Belmont Abbey), Patrick Kenneally (St. John’s University), Mike Lieberman (Belmont Abbey) and Matt Ragimierski (Boston University).
Mat Annunziata (Hofstra), Stephen Arnsten (Manhattan), Kory Cassara (Adelphi) and Mike Shine (College of St. Rose) will be playing baseball in college, while Nina Gaita (Molloy) will be playing softball, and Travis Passaro will be wrestling at Hofstra with his older brother Maverick, who recently transferred there from Rutgers University. Maverick Passaro became ESM’s first state champion in his senior year of 2012.
Madsen said that over a four-year span, the amount of scholarship money for the students totals well over a million dollars.
“I think our athletic program is growing, and its success, especially in certain sports, such as baseball, lacrosse and wrestling, has spurred other kids to participate,” Madsen explained. “Usually, we get a lot of boys and girls lacrosse athletes, but we also have baseball players, a wrestler and a softball player committing to colleges. So we’ve definitely been growing as a program.”
Madsen added that the success of the athletic programs can be directly attributed to the coaches and the youth programs.
“Our coaches and youth programs are working really well together,” he said. “For instance, our boys and girls basketball coaches are the directors of the youth basketball program. So are the wrestling and boys lacrosse coaches—they run their youth programs. It keeps everyone, K through 12, on the same page.”