The turning point in Jamira Mashore’s athletic career came in ninth grade.
She didn’t make the varsity girls’ lacrosse team at Abington while a number of other freshmen did, serving up plenty of motivation. Mashore never missed the cut again and the senior attacker used the fuel to earn her way to next level at Winthrop.
Mashore, along with senior teammates Anna Joseph and Kaley Ehnow, were among 10 Abington athletes to celebrate their college signings Wednesday morning.
“It became more serious for me in seventh grade, I’d always liked watching lacrosse on TV and I wanted to be on TV playing lacrosse,” Mashore said. “My freshman year, I didn’t make varsity but it only made me work harder because I was on JV and everyone else I’d played with growing up was on varsity.”
Mashore grew up playing multiple sports, but every time she’d go into Five Below, she’d play around with one of the mini lacrosse fiddle sticks in the store and the seed was planted. Winthrop was the first school to show interest, when she was a sophomore, and Mashore decided then it was where she wanted to be.
“I knew it was time to work harder, get in the gym and start taking extra shots,” Mashore said.
Joseph, a defender, also knew there was just one place she saw herself playing. While she’s committed to East Carolina, the real hurdle was figuring out if she did want to play in college.
Luckily for her, she had the just the right teammates.
“When I was a freshmen, all the juniors were going Division I and they were my motivation,” Joseph said. “They always worked so hard and I decided I wanted to be like them. It made me want to play in college at their level.”
Joseph, who started out as a midfielder, is one of the players the Ghosts count on most to transition the ball from the back into attack.
“When I came in as a freshman, I made varsity but I had no idea what I was doing on defense,” Joseph said. “I thought I knew everything, but my coach at the time, Amanda Kammes, she taught me everything I needed to know to play defense.”
Ehnow, who has signed with Elon, is Abington’s draw control specialist but has also become one of the team’s best all-around attackers after a strong junior season. The senior narrowed her list down to Elon and Towson, but picked Elon due to the coaching staff and the atmosphere at the team practices she attended during recruiting.
“My coach freshman year, she left a big impact and she told me early she thought I had what it takes,” Ehnow, who also played volleyball at Abington, said. “I started looking into it as soon as she said that. I was so interested in it and I’m just really excited.”
Growing up, people always told Kassondra Brown to play basketball because she was tall.
It turned to be pretty good advice, but only due to the endless hours of work Brown put in on and off the court. The all-state forward, who’s made tremendous growth since her freshman year, has turned into one of the best post players in Pennsylvania and will be continuing her career at Rhode Island next year.
“It’s a dream come true, it was a goal to go D-I and it’s finally happening and I’m actually a little nervous right now,” Brown said. “I think my sophomore year was my best year and ever since then, my confidence has been through the roof and the sky is the limit.”
Brown also weighed offers from UMass, Providence, Sacred Heart and Jacksonville State but felt like Rhode Island had the best mix of academics, athletic competition and a coaching staff that was investing in bringing the best out of her.
“It’s not too far, Jacksonville State was like nine hours away and I didn’t think I could do that personally, but I liked the campus and they really have good academics,” Brown said. “I really felt comfortable.”
With a game that only kept improving – Brown can step out and hit threes as easily as she can power to a bucket on the block – it was natural that more college coaches got interested.
“It made me feel really good, at first I don’t think anybody knew about me, but now they know my name and I’m out there,” Brown said. “I feel really good knowing that.”
Lucas Monroe started out as a soccer player but it was only a matter of time before he found himself with a basketball in his hand.
His older brother Jordan was a pretty good player, and the person Monroe most looked up to, so he would sit in the driveway while Jordan and his dad Raymond would do drills and eventually, he wanted in. Monroe, who still possesses a deft soccer touch, joined in and followed his dad’s instructions to become a well-rounded guard now committed to Penn.
“Just watching him lit a spark in me that made me want to follow in his footsteps,” Monroe said. “My dad, he used to do a lot of training with younger kids and he thought everyone should learn how to be a guard no matter how tall they are. He also harped on me that scoring isn’t the most important thing.”
Monroe weighed plenty of offers, including several other Ivy League schools but felt a real connection with his future teammates on his visits to Penn. He added that the university is close enough that his family and friends can come watch him, and he’ll have some separation but not enough to make things feel foreign.
A 6-foot-6 guard, Monroe can impact the game in a lot more ways than just scoring. He’s a strong passer, a good rebounder and one of the team’s best defenders plus the senior just brings a strong game IQ to the floor.
Teammate Eric Dixon also celebrated his commitment to defending national champion Villanova on Wednesday. Dixon, a 6-foot-8 forward, was named the 6A state player of the year last winter and begins the season with 1,616 career points, good for third all-time in school history.
LONG WAIT OVER
Cam Lexow knew early on she wanted to play soccer at Virginia.
The standout senior midfielder, who helped the Ghosts win the SOL American title this fall, attended a UVA ID Camp between eighth and ninth grade where she put herself on the Cavaliers’ radar. UVA coach Steve Swanson, a former USWNT assistant and U20 head coach, had some feedback for Lexow.
“He had some criticisms and things to say, I knew I wanted to go there so I was able to work on those things,” Lexow said. “This summer I went to another ID camp, he didn’t have as much to say, he felt I impacted games more but just being able to talk to him and get advice helps.”
Lexow gave a verbal commitment prior to her sophomore year and said she’s been able to play with less stress since then, although she admitted there was still pressure to play up to that prestige and also make sure her academics were in line. A 4.0 GPA student, Lexow doesn’t have to worry about that part and hopes to major in something related to criminal justice or forensics as an admitted fan of shows like Criminal Minds and NCIS.
She also has ambitions to play soccer professionally and felt UVA, one of the top programs in the country, would give her an opportunity to create that chance.
“I’ve been waiting a long time, but as it’s gotten closer and closer I’ve felt the excitement and nerves all built up in one,” Lexow said. “I know I have to go in ready and be fit but I’m really excited, proud of what I’ve accomplished and I just can’t wait.”
Lexow will be playing in the High School All-American game in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 1 then joining the Ghosts girls basketball team as a third-year starter this winter.
Also celebrating their signings on Wednesday were swimmer Matthew Bonnell, a distance specialist who is attending Penn, diver Sam Henninger, a high school All-American and defending District I champion heading to La Salle and baseball Griffin Wittenberg, primarily a catcher but a true team-first utility man who will play at Jefferson University.