This week, high schools around the country held National Signing Day ceremonies for most senior athletes committing to participate in Division I or II sports. Wilton High School has never held a formal Signing Day event until now, under the leadership of new Athletic Director Bobby Rushton. This year, 15 students signed their letters of intent during a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10, in the WHS Little Theater, formally committing to compete for their chosen school.
One at a time, each athlete came onstage to sign a letter and pose for photos, before being joined by their family members. Students and families sported college merchandise and proudly beamed as they sealed their futures.
Making the event a celebration was something Rushton knew was important to start at WHS. “My goal this year is really to enhance the experience of every student-athlete and family that plays a sport. And this is a National Day. All the athletes that are signing in Division I, Division II, military academies or Ivy League institutions have a national signing day. So why not at Wilton? It was a great opportunity and low-hanging fruit to make it happen. And I know how much effort and sacrifice goes into this, that this is a day these kids get represented,” he said.
GOOD Morning Wilton asked each student what made their school the destination of choice.
Jemma Peterkin, University of Richmond, lacrosse: “As soon as I went there, the people around me felt like a family and everyone was so ready to support me along the journey. There was nothing anyone could do to change my mind. I’m very happy about my decision.”
Emerson Pattillo, University of Michigan, lacrosse: “I chose Michigan because they were the program that I felt best suited me as a person. I suffered a pretty traumatic injury right before the recruiting season, and they were the one school that I felt welcomed me with open arms. And when I stepped on campus, I knew that that was the place for me. They seemed to have everything that I could ever look for in a school, and I’m just so glad that I have the opportunity to go to Michigan.”
Isabel DiNanno, University of Michigan, lacrosse: “Once I stepped on campus, I knew immediately it was going to be a place I could call my second home. From the girls on the team and also I’m going with one of my best friends, I just knew it was the right decision.”
Molly Snow, Lehigh University, lacrosse: “I chose Lehigh because as soon as I stepped on campus it immediately felt like home to me. There was no other place that I could imagine myself spending the next four years of my life. The opportunity to pursue a degree at such a high-ranked university along with playing on the women’s lacrosse team, which also feels like a family, is something that I couldn’t pass up.”
Nola Ryder, Lehigh University, field hockey: “It was the coach for me, and especially the team culture was unmatched. I went to so many other schools and Lehigh just felt like the place where I could find my best friends for the rest of my life.”
Spencer Liston, Providence College, lacrosse: “Just the community there and seeing everyone when I visited. Everyone was so together as a community. I really like the feel of a small school, but not too small. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Virginia Hastings, Bucknell University, swimming: “I chose Bucknell because I love the team atmosphere and everything about it just was so me. I just felt like I was at home there.”
Isabella Furman, University of Virginia, rowing: “When I was looking at schools and rowing teams, something from the very beginning stuck out about Virginia to me. I immediately clicked with the coaches and when I went on a visit, I loved the girls, I loved the aspect of the team and the way that they balance their academics and their athletics.”
Leah Petrie, Kansas University, rowing: “I’m originally from Minnesota, so my heart is always in the Midwest. It’ll always be in the Midwest. So I loved it, loved everything about it, loved the people.”
Andre Wiest, Hobart College, lacrosse: “The thing that made me want to go to Hobart was I got to play for the coach at an event and I really connected with him. And I also got to meet at the event a bunch of players that were already committed there and a bunch of the people that were already on the team were there. I really got to have a sense of feel for the team and I really liked it. So it was an easy choice.”
Reagan von Loesser, Southern Connecticut State University, soccer: “Education has always been my priority and they had exactly what I needed for my education. And they just happened to have a good soccer program as well. I was able to meet with the team, meet with the coach, and they’re just such wonderful people and I’m glad that I’m going to be able to spend the next four years with them.”
Charlotte Casiraghi, Harvard University, field hockey: “They have a really good field hockey program, but more than that, obviously is the academics there. That was really important to me. And just the campus and the atmosphere of Harvard is what really did it for me. And that’s the exact place I wanted to be, in the Northeast with people who I felt comfortable with. And I met the team and that’s exactly what happened. So it was great.”
Heather Plowright, Lafayette College, soccer: “Honestly, just the whole school. I stepped on campus and I knew this was exactly where I wanted to spend the next four years. The coaching staff was incredible and I met the team and the girls were just people that I knew I wanted to surround myself with. And the competitive athletics as well as challenging academics was something that I knew would push me to find success in my college career. So everything was just perfect.”
Isabel Howell, Ohio State, rowing: “I chose Ohio State because I have a teammate that’s in her freshman year there, and she loves it. She says it feels like home. And she’s such a big sister to me. So that’s what really tipped the scale for me to go to Ohio. And also the coaches being determined to get to NCAAs.”
Isabella Schmitt, Ohio State, rowing: “The reason I loved Ohio State so much was the coaching staff. They made me feel very welcome. They were very adamant about wanting me, which was a very good thing to have during the process.