Ten seniors sign to continue their athletic careers beyond the heart

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Jackie Franco '23

Athletes of the class of 2022 commit to their prospective colleges.

Ten Sacred Heart Greenwich seniors took the next step towards collegiate athletic success at the Commitment Day Ceremony January 12.  Seniors Bella Adams, Erin Griffin, Lauren Giuriceo, Kate Hong, Justine HounsellChelsea Hyland, Libby Kaseta, Caroline Nemec, Annie O’Connor, and Franny O’Brien committed to different Division I (DI) and Division III (DIII) schools for rowing, golf, field hockey, water polo, soccer, track, and lacrosse. 

The ten student-athletes are attending DI schools that are part of the National Letter of Intent (NLI) member institution.  All signed an NLI which is a contract between the incoming athlete and their prospective college that honors a commitment to attend the university for at least one year, according to nationalletter.orgSeniors who are committed to an Ivy League, DIII, or an institution not a part of the NLI member organization still received recognition at this ceremony for their accomplishments and contributions to the Sacred Heart athletic program.

Varsity field hockey co-captains Erin and Caroline celebrate their FAA regular-season championship win with fans.  Courtesy of Sacred Heart Greenwich Communications Dept.

Varsity field hockey co-captains Erin Griffin and Caroline Nemec committed to DI programs following a successful season in the fall, winning the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) regular-season championship.  Erin will play DI field hockey at the College of William & Mary.  Caroline will continue her field hockey career at the University of Virginia (UVA).

UVA, ranked nineteenth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), ended their 2021 season with a record of 12-9, according to ncaa.com.  Caroline spoke about how Sacred Heart field hockey has helped her grow as both a player and teammate.

“At Sacred Heart, I was able to discover my love for the sport and focus more deeply on it as well.  I found my love for a team atmosphere and the joy that practice, games, and my team brought me every day,” Caroline said.  “It helped me to discover how important field hockey was to me and how much I enjoyed playing both with friends and at a high level.”

Chelsea Hyland will play at Washington and Lee University following her time on the Sacred Heart varsity soccer team.  Chelsea, alongside her co-captains, led a successful 2021 season finishing with an 8-8-2 record.  Ranked sixth in the NCAA DIII Women South Atlantic Region, Washington and Lee ended their 2021 season with a record of 13-3-2, according to generalssports.com.

Varsity golf captain Kate Hong is the only senior playing golf at the collegiate level.  She will take her talents to College of the Holy Cross.  The Crusaders women’s golf team is a member of the Patriot League, according to patriotleague.org.  Kate recognized the importance of a team element within the individual sport.

“Golf is a very individual sport where all the control is in your own hands, however being on the team at Sacred Heart has really brought a team aspect to golf,” Kate said.  “It is very fun playing with other talented women golfers and has inspired me to want to continue on a team to help balance the individual aspect of golf with the team aspect of golf.”

Libby Kaseta will join Sacred Heart alumna Samantha Novak ’21 on the rowing team at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  Bucknell University women’s rowing team placed second overall in the 2019 Patriot League Women’s Rowing Championship, according to patriotleague.org.

Justine signs her National Letter of Intent to run track and field at Cornell University January 12. Courtesy of Justine Hounsell ’22

Justine Hounsell is furthering both her academic and athletic careers at Cornell University on the Women’s Track and Field team.  The team finished their 2019 season ranked first in the northeast, according to cornelbigred.comJustine spoke about the lessons that she has learned from the sport.  She appreciates what track and field has taught her about teamwork.

“The thing I love most about running with Sacred Heart is that whether we are at a meet or just running at practice, everyone always supports each other and wants each other to succeed,” Justine said.  “Next year, I hope to bring the same kind of support to the Track and Field team at Cornell.”

Justine has participated in Sacred Heart track and field since freshman year.  She thanks her coaches for their help throughout her four years on the team.

“I think one of the biggest factors that affected my decision to run in college was how much the coaches at Sacred Heart believed in me,” Justine said.  “[Without] the support they showed me, I would never have thought that I could run in college.”

Water polo captain Bella Adams will take her talents to Iona College.  The Iona College women’s water polo team are three-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Champions, according to icgaels.com.  Although she will cherish her memories at Sacred Heart, Bella is excited to make new friends on her team and advance her talents next year. 

“I am looking forward to bonding with my new teammates as well as being able to travel across the country to play new teams and further my water polo skills,” Bella said.

Lauren Giuriceo, Annie O’Connor, and Franny O’Brien will continue their lacrosse careers at the collegiate level.  Franny will attend the University of Notre Dame, ranked fourth in the NCAA, according to ncaa.com.  Lauren will attend Middlebury College, ranked the number one in the “Nike/United States Lacrosse D-III Women’s Preseason Top 20” in 2021, according to usalaxmagazine.com.  Annie will continue her career at Brown University.  Brown ranked third in the Ivy League after their 2021 season, according to insidelacrosse.com.  Annie discussed how her experience playing lacrosse at Sacred Heart impacted her decision to play in college.

“Between the amazing coaches and mentors, to my teammates, the lacrosse team has been one of the biggest highlights of my four years in high school.  I cannot wait to play the sport I love in college, and I am so grateful for everything Sacred Heart lacrosse has given me,” Annie said.

Annie looks forward to carrying on the lessons she has learned at Sacred Heart throughout her future.  She extends her gratitude to the team and the Sacred Heart lacrosse program as a whole.

“Whether we are winning or losing, I hope to use the skills my coaches and teammates at Sacred Heart have taught me to be a positive and motivating presence to my team,” Annie said.  “I will strive to be a courageous and fearless leader, something that my mentors at Sacred Heart have instilled in me throughout my experience.”

Featured Image by Jackie Franco ’23