Seniors sign their letters of intent
February 7, 2023
At high schools all across America, students fill teams in a variety of sports. A vast majority of them finish their playing careers at the end of senior year. A small minority of them get to move on and compete at the collegiate level. On Wednesday, Baldwin honored 11 student athletes who were a part of national signing day.
After high school football honors, Hartman heads to Saint Vincent
Brady Hartman began his freshman year deciding to try out football for the first time.
“I had good size and always wanted to play, and I fell in love with the game. Ever since then there has been no looking back,” Hartman, a senior offensive lineman, said.
As he got older, he perfected his craft more every day, hoping to someday play in college. Around halfway through his junior season, college coaches started reaching out and offering him a chance to play in their programs.
Hartman received offers from Waynesburg University, Saint Vincent College, California University of Pennsylvania, Wittenberg University, and other schools.
Of those schools, Saint Vincent stood out the most to him.
“The recruiting process is stressful but it was pretty easy for me. The coaches and staff at St. Vincent have made me feel like family and treated me very well throughout the process,” Hartman said.
Hartman is a second team all-conference defensive lineman, but he will be staying on offense in college. He was also nominated for the Bill Fralic Award, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in the WPIAL conference.
“It is an honor and I am thankful for all of my family, teammates, coaches, and memories regarding Baldwin football. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me,” Hartman said.
Truzzi earns spot on California University volleyball team
Ever since senior Abby Truzzi began playing volleyball in sixth grade, her dream was to play collegiate volleyball.
She succeeded: Truzzi will be continuing her volleyball career playing Division II volleyball at California University of Pennsylvania.
Over the summer, Truzzi attended a volleyball camp without any previous contact with coaches. However, after attending the camp, Truzzi said coaches expressed their interest.
“I kept in contact with the coach, and then he called one night saying that I have a spot on the team if I would like it,” Truzzi said.
Truzzi accepted. Beyond volleyball, she will be majoring in health science and eventually plans to attend graduate school for occupational therapy.
“California University gave me a great opportunity to continue my athletic career while still getting a good education for my major,” Truzzi said.
Benton follows passion for football at Grove City
An overwhelming sense of home and excitement led senior Bobby Benton to choose to play football with the Division III Grove City Wolverines for the next four years.
“To me, it is more than being able to say I went D2 or D1. Grove City is a great place to get an education because of their fantastic resources and alumni network. The coaching staff was probably the biggest draw,” Benton said.
Benton began playing football in his freshman year of high school. What began as trying something new led to a new passion that would drive the following years of his life.
“Football is the ultimate team sport. It takes 11 guys every play to make a game work. Being able to go out there and fight for a win next to the guys you love is what I love most about the game,” Benton said.
Throughout this process, the support from his family has been constant, he said, allowing him to continue to grow and navigate his life.
“My biggest inspiration is my family: my Pap, Dad, and Mom especially. They have all been there for me through everything and I couldn’t have asked for a better support system through this whole process,” Benton said.
Baldwin has brought many opportunities and success for Benton both on and off of the field. In closing this chapter of his life, he is looking forward to starting a new one.
“My biggest emotion going into this is excitement. I am excited to get back on the field, I am excited to get back to watching film, to be a part of this new family, and to go win championships with my teammates at Grove City,” Benton said. “Football has brought me a second family and I am really excited to join this one and grow with them over the next four years.
Sticking with volleyball pays off for Lindenfelser
Senior Kay Lindenfelser began her senior year not wanting to play volleyball, but this week she signed to play Division II volleyball at California University.
Lindenfelser first started playing volleyball in seventh grade.
“I wanted to be a cheerleader but then at the last minute decided to try volleyball. I found interest in it and started doing everything I could to learn about the sport,” Lindenfelser said.
Volleyball was something Lindenfelser loved and excelled at for years, but she felt burned out by the end of junior year.
“I got dressed as varsity for the last bit of my freshman year and then played varsity the rest of my high school career. Junior year, I felt burned out and was debating on whether I wanted to continue senior year,” Lindenfelser said.
Eventually, Lindenfelser felt that she wanted closure with volleyball, which led her to play in her senior year.
“I wanted to remember volleyball as something I loved. I have done volleyball all my life and wanted to finish it off senior year being recognized for my hard work,” she said.
Lindenfelser became interested in California University at the beginning of her senior year. She did not see herself playing volleyball in college but was given the opportunity by the California University coach.
“I am excited to have a new environment for volleyball and to meet a whole new group of people. I get to experience the sport at a higher level, which I never thought I would,” she said.
Westminster serves up what Overlingas is looking for
Senior Emma Overlingas will be combining two of her passions at Westminster College: tennis and education.
“I chose Westminster because they have a good tennis team and a really good education program,” she said.
Overlingas has been playing tennis for about 10 years, and she has made WPIAL playoffs for both singles and doubles throughout her high school career.
”I started touring and talking to the coaches at Westminster my sophomore year,” she said. “I started talking to the coach more this year about committing and joining the team.”
Overlingas credits her parents for their support and encouragement throughout her high school tennis career and college search.
In school, she will be majoring in elementary education and special education.
“I love working with kids. I have been involved in Special Olympics and Partners PE since freshman year and I am in preschool now,” she said. In addition, Overlingas has been a part of the National Honor Society, Special Olympics, Mini-THON, and Spanish Club.
“My advice for incoming athletes is to not get discouraged if you did not get the spot on the team you wanted, because you can keep working towards it (for the rest of) high school.”
After visiting Clarion, Forgacs felt he belonged there
To baseball player Christian Forgacs, playing in college was a “no brainer.”
“Baseball has always been number one,” Forgacs said.
At first, Forgacs was undecided on where to go to college. Once he visited Clarion University, however, he knew it was right for him.
“It just felt like I belonged there. It’s a more quiet and calm environment, and that is perfect for me,” he said.
He visited other schools and attended college camps, but Clarion was the best decision for his future, he said.
“I went to camps and visited Slippery Rock and Millersville too. They both are very nice schools that I would recommend, but things didn’t work out and I got this great opportunity now at Clarion,” Forgacs said.
He said playing college baseball has always been a dream of his, but he didn’t realize it could be a reality until last spring.
Forgacs gives credit to everyone around him for making this opportunity possible.
“Thank you to my teammates and coaches for everything you have done for me, and to my teachers too,” he said.
For Murphy, Cal U is a family tradition
Senior Logan Murphy began playing football freshman year after watching the sport on television and hearing about the experiences of Baldwin students who had played.
“I always watched football TV and heard stories about it, so I decided I wanted to be a part of the sport,” Murphy said.
Murphy experienced some injuries during his high school seasons, but he was inspired by his coaches to continue through and challenge himself. Now, four years later, Murphy has signed a letter of intent to play college football for California University of Pennsylvania.
Murphy wanted to go to Cal U from the start since his parents were both alumni. He also looked up to the Cal U coach during the recruitment process.
“Cal U was a top choice for me from the beginning,” Murphy said.
Iaquinta will live his dream of playing college football
From the moment he first stepped onto the field, it has always been senior Victor Iaquinta’s dream to play football at the collegiate level.
Now he can live that dream by playing Division II football at Mercyhurst University.
“I can’t wait to go to Mercyhurst and I just love to play the sport of football,” Iaquinta said.
Iaquinta’s inspiration for choosing Mercyhurst goes further than just how good the football program is. One of his Baldwin coaches, Doug Altavilla, played football at Mercyhurst, giving him more reason to want to play for that university and succeed as a player, Iaquinta said.
Even after being accepted to Mercyhurst, Iaquinta has aspirations beyond playing football at the collegiate level.
“I have always been passionate for the sport of football and even hope to go to the NFL after Mercyhurst,” Iaquinta said.
Beyond playing football, Iaquinta plans to study special education at Mercyhurst.
Cherico excited to join West Liberty track program
After facing some hardships during his early years of track, senior A.J. Cherico has persevered and signed with West Liberty University.
During his freshman year, Cherico joined the track team, but the season was cut short after COVID-19 cases began to spread. Sophomore year brought new opportunities, but after working towards making the track WPIAL Championships, Cherico missed the cut by a single spot.
“Junior was really my breakout year,” Cherico said. “That’s whenever coaches started to contact me.”
Cherico expressed his excitement towards joining the track program at West Liberty.
“It’s an atmosphere that you don’t get with other sports,” Cherico said.
Cherico plans on competing in the 110 hurdle and triple jump events.
“It’s not a team sport. Your failure and success is all on you and no one else besides you,” Cherico said.
Bommer switches to competitive dance
Senior Taylor Bommer began dancing at the age of 2 because of her mom, and over the years she developed a passion for it. She has signed to do competitive dance at Gannon University, a Division II school.
“My mom put me in dance and I loved it. It was a way to express myself,” Bommer said.
Bommer has been dancing at South Hills Dance Academy since 2017.
Bommer has not participated in competitive dance before. Going from recreational dance to competitive dance is an intimidating change, but Bommer said she is looking forward to it.
“I’m changing from competing against my personal best to competing against other collegiate dancers,” Bommer said.
She is also considering joining the lacrosse team.
“I started lacrosse freshman year because my brother did it through his youth and I was influenced by him. I ended up loving that too,” she said.
Managing two sports, one of which is year long, will be a big push, but Bommer is confident. The possibility of signing the letter of intent was a major motivation for her, encouraging her to do her best and continue competing in college.
“I feel like this signing pushed me to really succeed through college because if I can do it in high school, then I can do it in college too.” Bommer said.
Garbowsky to create new bonds at Westminster
Senior Bailey Garbowsky is excited to build relationships playing volleyball for Westminster College next year.
Through playing for both Baldwin and club team Pitt Elite, Garbowsky has formed many bonds and friendships.
“It’s how I met one of my best friends, who goes to Seton. I’ve been friends with her for seven years and it all started because of volleyball,” she said.
Garbowsky is a libero and has been playing volleyball for around seven years. She has stuck with volleyball for so long because she appreciates the competitive nature of the sport.
She decided that she wanted to go to Westminster in the summer after being recruited by the volleyball coach. She attended a showcase over the summer where she met the coach, and later she decided that this was the school she wanted to go to.
Garbowsky, who will be majoring in chemistry, said she enjoyed visiting the campus. She has already started to feel a connection to the school.
“It felt like home there,” Garbowsky said.
She has made many fond memories through her sport, such as winning the MLK tournament with her Sky Elite team and playing her first tournament for Pitt Elite. She hopes to make many more memories in the future with her new teammates.