EAST ROCKHILL >> Emily Amsden found the right spot for her in Baltimore. Brooklynn Hudgins is heading a bit more south to Tennessee while Ashley Gordon felt she fit in perfectly with the Golden Domers in South Bend, Indiana.
Wednesday afternoon, Pennridge High School celebrated Signing Day, honoring the commitments of 11 student-athletes – all from its girls teams – that are set to spread out to 10 schools in seven different states to continue their pursuits in both sports and academics.
“I think it’s so cool how everyone’s just venturing out on their own path and finding what they love in completely different area,” Hudgins said. “I think it says a lot about our school and how our school gives us those options and helps us with that college search. I’m really happy and can’t wait to see what everyone else who committed here does in the future.”
Six PHS student-athletes are heading off to play soccer in college – Hudgins (Tusculum University), Madison Angelo (Youngstown State), Lindsey DeHaven (High Point), Sammi McBride (DeSales) while both Cady McKean and Raina Adelman are going to King’s College.
Amsden (Johns Hopkins) and Amber Sims (Gwynedd Mercy) will be playing field hockey, Maddie Silber will attend Wagner University for softball, Mackenzie Herbst will head to Saint Bonaventure for women’s lacrosse while Gordon will compete in track and field and cross country at Notre Dame.
“It’s definitely a drive but I knew I wanted to be somewhere within the range of just like an hour to three hours, but it’s perfect within that range,” said Amsden of Johns Hopkins. “So I just think it’s cool how we’re all going to different states and we all found somewhere that we can fit that’s not close to home.”
For Hudgins – who was a member of Pennridge’s field hockey team but played soccer just for club program FC Delco, it’s a return to her southern roots attending Tusculum –located in Greene County in east Tennessee – as she was born in northeast Georgia.
“I am from the south so I’ve been very acclimated to a lot of the schools that are down there and I always knew Division II, that’s the division I looked at and I wanted a smaller school,” said Hudgins, who looks to major in Biology with an eye on becoming an occupational therapist. “When I was on my search for schools I saw Tusculum University, checked it out and it felt right for me.”
McKean and Adelman – part of a quintet that signed National Letters of Intent from the Rams girls soccer team that advanced to Thursday’s District 1-4A final – both ended up picking King’s but the pair did not exactly plan it that way.
“Our parents are really close and so are we and we just talking about where we’ve been looking and she was like ‘Oh like I really like King’s and I went and visited,’ and I was like ‘No way, me too,’ McKean said. “It was so cool and then we decided at different times but it was definitely cool.”
Adelman aims to study to become a Physician assistant while McKean looks to major in Exercise Science.
“I felt like the campus was so beautiful and it’s just the right distance from home and playing soccer is just a bonus,” McKean said. “Talking to the coach and looking at the program it just seemed like a really good fit for me and just their work ethic and the effort they all put in and just what they wanted to do in the future really intrigued me.”
King’s locale in Wilkes-Barre was a positive for Adelman joining the Monarchs program, which competes in the Division III Middle Athletic Conference.
“I chose King’s because I really liked the campus and I like that it is not too far from home,” said Adelman in a questionnaire. “The surrounding town also gives me a lot of activities do. The main reason that I chose King’s was because I get to play soccer while getting a good education. My main priority was education and I think King’s will give me exactly what I am looking for.”
McBride is continuing a family tradition heading to DeSales as her mom, aunt and uncle all attended the Allentown school. McBride looks to major in Business.
Angelo was an All-SOL Continental Conference second team selection in 2019 but is sidelined this season due to an ACL injury. She is aiming to major in an undecided STEM field at Youngstown State – the DI Penguins playing in the Horizon League.
“The Youngstown State coaches started recruiting me after an ECNL national event in Florida,” said Angelo in her questionnaire. “I felt a real strong connection with the coaches every time I talked on the phone with them. After going on a visit in August before my junior year I knew was the place for me. I fell in love with everything about the school including the team dynamic, the facilities and the campus.”
DeHaven, who came into this season a three-time All-SOL Continental pick – second team in 2017 and 2018, first team in 2019 – heads down to North Carolina to attend DI High Point, which competes in the Big South Conference. DeHaven attends to major in Elementary Education.
“I chose HPU because of the beautiful campus and the amazing people there to help you succeed,” said DeHaven in her questionnaire. “I felt right at home the moment I stepped on campus. I also fell in love with the team environment and the coaching staff.”
Rams girls track standout Gordon opted for Notre Dame due to its standards in both the classroom and the sports field. She is so far undecided on a major.
“I was looking for a school that offered the high-level academics and athletics and then on top of that I found such a wonderful community that Notre Dame offered,” she said. “I went to the campus and being there, just the people were so nice and helpful and inviting. So I just knew that was the place I wanted to be.
Gordon finished 18th in Class 3A at the PIAA Cross Country championships on Nov. 7 in Hershey. As a sophomore in 2019, she was second in District 1 and fifth at PIAAs in Class 3A in the 1600 meters. She expects to run the mile and 800 meters along with cross country for the Fighting Irish.
“Over this past quarantine, I was just training cause that’s all I had,” Gordon said. “All the team sports got cancelled so I really put all my focus into running and coach Christy Kendall really helped me and I kind of fell in love with the idea of being able to push my physical boundaries every time I got out there.”
Amsden, a three-time All-SOL Continental field hockey selection – first team in 2019 after third team the previous two years – will head to Johns Hopkins with looking to major in Biology.
“I think the main thing that drew me to it was the fact that it’s a competitive academic and athletic program and it’s a really beautiful campus, I loved it as soon as I stepped on it,” Amsden said. “My first visit there was sophomore year and I got to meet with the coaches and they were just so welcoming and so transparent through the whole process so it was really just a good fit for me.”
Sims will continue her field hockey career at Gwynedd Mercy and is planning to major in Criminal Justice.
“My aunt is an alumnus from this college and has been very content and successful with her career choice and I look up to her and her determination,’ said Sims in her questionnaire. “I do love the environment that Gwynedd Mercy provides and the criminal justice program that is offered at this college happens to provide me many opportunities to ensure a career in law enforcement.”
Silber, an All-SOL Continental second team catcher as a sophomore in 2019, reached her goal to play in the DI level in committing to Wagner – the Staten Island, New York school is a member in the Northeast Conference. Silber expects to play both catcher and third base for the Seahawks.
“I always wanted to play Division I softball and especially over quarantine I had to reevaluate a little bit the schools that I was considering Wagner it seemed like too good to be true almost,” said Silber, who is looking to be a Pre-Med major. “It was a really little school, really close to the city and it was it was Division I, it had great academics so I sent a quick email to the coach and she reached out to me and that’s kind of how it all started.”
Herbst is set to play Division I lacrosse along with majoring in Business Management on a Pre-Law track at Saint Bonaventure, which is located near Olean, New York.
“I chose St. Bonaventure because of the academics, athletics, team and small school setting,” said Herbst in her questionnaire.