Five Barnegat Athletes Make College Commitments
At Barnegat High School on National Signing Day, Feb. 1, a handful of student-athletes signed with their schools of choice, including soccer players Kate Siciliano (Rider University) and Madison Musico (Montclair State University), baseball player Aaron McLaughlin (Rutgers University), lacrosse player Hunter Narozniak (New Jersey Institute of Technology) and basketball player Ashley Toner (Emerson College).
Siciliano said selecting Rider over another school high on her list “really came down to the perks of playing at the Division I level – the cool locker room, getting equipment and just the better play,” among other things.
“I want to go into law enforcement, and I was told majoring in criminal justice wouldn’t make me stand out in the application process,” she said. “So, instead, I am going to major in accounting with a concentration in fraud accounting, which not many schools offer.”
Siciliano will play for the Broncs under head coach Drayson Hounsome, who recruits players from all over the world.
“My biggest challenge is going to be having to compete with girls that have different styles of training, which leads to different skills,” Siciliano said regarding some of the challenges she’s going to face at the next level. “I’ve watched some of the international girls play at some of the games, and their foot skills are amazing, so for the next couple of months I’ll have to have the ball at my feet 24/7 as I try to get my level of skills close to theirs.”
Narozniak also will stay close to home and play with the Highlanders under head coach Travis Johnson. NJIT became a Division I school in recent years and has been making major upgrades to its athletic facilities.
“NJIT was recently ranked as the best university nationally for return on your investment,” said Narozniak, who likes the “urban feel” to the campus. “I chose NJIT because it combines top-notch technical academics with Division I lacrosse. Plus, the program is still new, so we can still help Coach Johnson to build and establish the program’s culture and identity. As one of the new teams in the nation, they have a great attitude and desire to prove themselves.”
Fortunately, Narozniak also understands Division I lacrosse is a very fast, highly skilled game.
“The speed of the game and the overall lacrosse IQ of everyone is ridiculous. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the game and working continuously to improve,” he said. “Needless to say, I’m excited for the challenge and opportunity to play at the next level.”
At Southern Regional High School, National Signing Day was a big deal for a trio of seniors, including soccer players Bailey Gellis and Rachel Rizzo, as well as golfer Matt Rizzo. Gellis is headed for Arkansas State University, currently home to former Ram Abby Harris, while Rachel Rizzo signed with Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and Matt Rizzo will continue his education and golf career at Drew University.
Dan McCoy, varsity baseball coach, said McLaughlin’s primary position is shortstop.
“He also pitched for us, and he can also play second or third base,” he said.
McCoy said as a sophomore, McLaughlin batted .355.
“He tailed off a little as a junior, but he’s determined to bounce back as a senior,” the coach said. “I think he can play at the collegiate level. Defense is his strong point, and he has a strong throwing arm.”
— David Biggy and Eric Englund