TOWAMENCIN >> Lots of hard work goes into the career of a high school athlete. Most of them work from their early years until graduation to try and improve in the sports they compete and polish their game.
Tuesday afternoon, four North Penn student-athletes gathered in the auditorium to honor perhaps the pinnacle of a high school athlete’s career as they celebrated the signing of their National Letter of Intent (NLI).
Kailyn Evans (University of San Diego – Swimming), David Giuliani (Merrimack College – Basketball), Riley Houlihan (Clarion University – Soccer), and Kathleen Stevenson (Bloomsburg – Track and Field) all shared why they chose their respective schools and what they were most excited for down the road in front of friends and family in attendance.
Having student-athletes with the ability to play at the next level obviously means a great deal for any high school programs on-field success, but what North Penn takes the most pride in is the ability to provide the participants with a vehicle to continue their education past high school.
“These kids using sports to continue their education is the most important thing about these events,” said North Penn athletic director Bill Bartle. “The ones here signing today have been able to learn a great deal on the court and in the classroom and its paid off. This is the culmination of many years of hard work for the family and the athlete. We have three of these signings a year and they’re probably the three best days for the athletic department because we get to see them go forward.’’
As Kailyn Evans gets ready to leave North Penn, she does so as the school record holder in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. What makes that feat even more special for the senior is that both those records were previously held by her mother, Julie Krail-Evans.
For many of the student-athletes in attendance, the reason they picked their respective schools differed.
Stevenson picked Bloomsburg because of the major it offered and because it “felt like home” to her.
On the other hand, Riley Houlihan chose Clarion because of the sense of comfort she felt with the coaching staff and the team.
For David Giuliani, the choice was a little bit more difficult. Giuliani started his career at North Penn, transferred to Phil-Mont Christian for his sophomore and junior season, and then transferred back to the Knights. Up until earlier this year, he didn’t even know if he was interested in playing at the next level or if he wanted the more traditional college experience. However, he eventually chose to play at Merrimack because being involved in a sport helps with his studies.
“I was back and forth during the entire beginning of the year deciding whether or not I wanted to play in college or just go to one of the state schools and be with my friends,’’ said Giuliani. “Basketball just kind of keeps me in check with my grades and everything like that. It’s always good to be part of a team and have those people there to support you and for those reasons it was kind of a simple decision for me in the end.’’
Whether they chose their school for the coaching staff, the academics or the structure, the most important fact remains. All four of these students worked hard enough to achieve the ultimate goal of using sports as a means to further their education.
Top Photo: From left, North Penn’s Riley Houlihan, Kailyn Evans, David Giuliani and Kathleen Stevenson announced their National Letters of Intent signing on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (Brian Good/For Digital First Media)