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Five Seniors to Play Division I Athletics Next Year

Five Seniors to Play Division I Athletics Next Year

Five Seniors to Play Division I Athletics Next Year

Congratulations to Sophie Duncan '22, Nora Hemsley '22, Serena Hong '22Ava Kang '22, and Ella Myers '22 for their commitment to compete in Division I athletics next year. These student-athletes were celebrated by their friends and family in a ceremony on National Letter of Intent Signing Day.

The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between the student-athlete and their future school. This letter is typically signed by student-athletes who receive an athletic scholarship. For students not signing an NLI, this day is largely ceremonial as their schools either do not follow the National Letter of Intent protocol or they have a non-scholarship based commitment.

Read more about each student and their journey to competing on the collegiate level below.

Sophie Duncan - Stanford University, Swimming

Sophie learned how to swim when she was 4 and began competitively swimming when she was 7. She swam in the US Olympic Trials this summer and is excited to continue competing at Stanford.

She chose Stanford to continue her athletic career because of the amazing coaching staff, beautiful weather, history of success in swimming, and amazing academics. 

"Holton has taught me how to manage my time– balancing demanding academics with taxing swim practices," she said. "Holton has also taught me the importance of building relationships with teachers."

Sophie thanked her family, coaches, teammates, teachers, and friends for all of their love and support. "The recruiting process was definitely a lot of work, but in the end really rewarding."

Nora Hemsley - Boston University, Rowing

Nora has been rowing since freshman year and will continue her career at Boston University on the women's lightweight team. 

"I loved the school, the city atmosphere, and I loved the competitive and supportive attitude of the team," she said, adding that the recruiting process was stressful and exciting. "It feels rewarding to be complete with the process and I am excited for college. 

She thanked Coaches Stephanie Acerra, Emily Wilde and Lucia Piacenza for helping her begin hre rowing career and giving her a fun place to row with her Holton friends. She also thanked her club coaches at TBC and PBC for furthering her skills, especially throughout the pandemic.

She added that she feels her time on the swim team helped her become a better rower, keeping up her conditioning and continuing to do hard work even when she wasn't rowing.

"My time at Holton helped me learn what hard work was and that I need to be persistent and independent if I want to accomplish my goals (both academic and athletic)."

Serena Hong - Columbia University, Lacrosse

Serena's journey to playing lacrosse for Columbia began in third grade. As a midfielder for the Capital Lacrosse Club blue team, she'll now compete for a school with strong academics, unique traditions, and a great sense of community.

"The recruiting process was definitely crazy during Covid, but I am so lucky that everything worked out for me and that I have the opportunity to continue playing at such an amazing school," she said. 

Serena would like to thank all of her coaches at Holton for always pushing her, and in particular Coach Janet McCormick.

"She has always been there to support me and help me develop as a player and a person to grow to my full potential," she said." I am so grateful to have such great coaches and mentors like her in my life."

She credited Holton for helping her gain confidence in herself and grow into a leader both on and off the field.

Ava Kang - Yale University, Softball

In first grade, Ava joined her first tee-ball team and very quickly fell in love. Once she was older, she knew she wanted to pursue softball in college. 

"I chose Yale because I wanted to go somewhere to further my high academic and athletic goals in a supportive and fun setting," she said. "The softball coaches and current players on the team were also such a huge factor. The kind and engaging environment they created fostered a place I knew I wanted to be a part of and would fit in very well at."

The impacts of Covid-19 made the recruiting process difficult, she said, which served as a learning opportunity to understand herself, her goals and values, and how to communicate with others. She feels "very lucky to fall in love with a school that reciprocated the same love towards me."

"I would love to thank my parents, friends, teachers, and softball coaches, in and out of school, who supported me and made my dream of becoming a D1 athlete at Yale a reality."

Ella Myers - University of Texas, Swimming

Ella has been swimming competitively since she was five years old, and started doing year-round club team when she was six. She currently swims for Nation's Capital Swim Club all year and swims mostly butterfly, IM, and mid distance freestyle.

During the recruiting process, she fell in love with both Austin and the team. 

"I always dreamed of representing such an elite team, and cannot believe I actually am going to be part of such a great environment," she said. "I am also going to be surrounded by motivated students and endless academic opportunities. God has blessed me with this incredible opportunity to swim and study for my dream school. It feels unreal."

Ella credited Holton for helping teach her the value of hard work, time management, and dedication. She credited Coach Graham Westerberg and the Holton swim community for helping inspire her to reach her full potential.

"I am so lucky for this community and the Holton swim coaches," she said. "Graham has also always been there for me, and I am so lucky that I had him to support me both in and out of the pool."


Congratulations, Panthers! More photos of the celebration can be viewed in Vidigami

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