Six more Panthers will be continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level. During a virtual ceremonial signing event on Wednesday, April 14, friends, family, teachers, and coaches gathered online to celebrate this achievement. Five students will be playing NCAA Division III athletics and one will make her Division I debut.
Macy Daggitt ’21 will run track and field for Middlebury College; Romi Hodor ’21 will play tennis for Colorado College; Katie Kohn ’21 will play field hockey for Swarthmore College; Emma McDonald ’21 will dive for George Mason University (DI); Valerie Mello ’21 will swim for Pitzer College; and AJ Sion ’21 will play lacrosse for Kenyon College. These students join Wynter Bramao ’21 in heading to the NCAA next year. (She will dive for Georgetown University, an accomplishment we celebrated in November.)
In celebrating their commitment, we recognize not just this milestone day, but the years of hard work that have led to this occasion. We are proud of these Panthers for all they have accomplished and all they have given to their respective team and teammates, and we are thrilled to see all that they will achieve as scholar-athletes in the future!
Macy Daggitt ’21 - Middlebury College, Track & Field
Macy is pleased with how smoothly the recruiting process went and credits her coaches with helping her through the process and advocating for her. She was considering one other school but ultimately felt in love with Middlebury’s track program and felt a real connection with the coach.
“Middlebury had lots of great opportunities both on the track and in the classroom,” Macy says. “I also love the location in the mountains of Vermont.”
She feels well prepared for college, thanks to her years on River Road. “Holton has given me the time management and organizational skills to manage both classes and practices," she says. "And athletically, I feel prepared not only physically, but also mentally. My coaches have been very supportive and have helped me push myself to improve. They have made me confident in my ability as an athlete, and my teammates have made every day enjoyable and have motivated me to advance.”
Macy would like to thank her coaches and Athletic Director Julie Treadwell “for pushing me to improve, take risks, and be confident. Also my parents have been very supportive and given me many opportunities. Finally, thank you to my teammates whom I rely on!”
Romi Hodor ’21 - Colorado College, Tennis
Romi says she found the recruiting process challenging at first as she sought out a school with a strong tennis program and strong academics, but once she found Colorado College, she decided it was the perfect fit.
“I chose CC because of their unique block program where you take one class for three and a half weeks, then another in the next block. I also chose the school as the community is extremely welcoming and very outdoorsy, and there is a chance that I will be on the lineup for tennis the following year.” Plus, Romi adds, “Colorado Springs is absolutely gorgeous and there is so much to do!”
Romi is grateful for the ways Holton has prepared her for collegiate student-athlete life. “It has taught me the value of persevering and working hard, regardless of the challenges in front of me,” she says.
“I would like to thank Athletic Director Julie Treadwell and Upper School Director Chris Lynch for supporting my attendance at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy for my senior year. My coaches at Smith Stearns have given me the confidence that I needed to take my tennis to the collegiate level and build on the experiences I had at Holton.”
Katie Kohn ’21 - Swarthmore College, Field Hockey
Because of the pandemic, Katie had fewer opportunities for coaches to see her play and was unable to have an on-campus visit with her future team. But she says the recruiting process was otherwise “relatively smooth and simple.”
“Besides the field hockey team and coaches,” Katie says, “I chose Swarthmore because of the vast opportunities they are able to offer undergrads—especially since there are no grad schools—and because of how engaged the professors and other staff are with the students and how much they care about your success.”
Armed with strong time-management and organizational skills developed at Holton, Katie feels ready to take on the challenges of balancing college-level courses and competition. “Holton has also taught me how to reach out to my coaches and teachers when I need guidance,” she adds.
Katie would like to thank her on-field mentors. “My Holton coaches were very influential in my development both as a player and a person. I am so thankful for their support and how they helped shape me into the person I am.”
Emma McDonald - George Mason University, Diving
Emma notes that the pandemic definitely made the recruiting process more challenging. “I was not able to go on any recruiting trips to meet coaches and divers in-person,” she says.
She looked at Rochester Institute of Technology, Lehigh University, Miami University of Ohio, and George Mason University, but ultimately chose GMU because of the swim and dive team and coach, the academic programs, and the location.
Emma feels ready for the next stage of her academic and athletic career. “Holton has taught me how to balance a rigorous curriculum with an intense training schedule,” she says.
She would like to thank her club coach, who was instrumental in helping her identify schools that met her athletic and academic goals.
Valerie Mello ’21 - Pitzer College, Swimming
Valerie is proud to be continuing her sport, swimming, at Pitzer College.
“By the end of the recruitment process,” she says, “Pitzer was the only school I was really interested in, due to the friends I had made already and my strong relationship with the coach. The team and my school’s opportunities led me to choose Pitzer. The incredible study abroad programs and the school’s overall vibe really drew me in.”
Valerie feels well-equipped for the rigors of student-athlete life at the collegiate level. “HASwim really mimics the feel of a college swim season, and the time-management skills I’ve developed from swimming in-school and out are very useful,” she says.
She is grateful for Holton Head Swim Coach Graham Westerberg and Assistant Coaches Mary Kline, Martha Macon Smith, and Malena Ferrari. “Thank you for all being amazing coaches and helping HASwim fulfill our potential. These past few years have been amazing!”
AJ Sion - Kenyon College, Lacrosse
AJ knew she wanted a DIII school where she could enjoy a healthy balance of academics, athletics, and social life and she was interested in several of the Ohio schools. At some point, Kenyon began to really stand out, thanks to its close campus community, the camaraderie, and the natural beauty of the school. Plus, she adds, “The coach created a lot of team traditions and rituals that made the girls all really close, and having my team feel like my family is one of the most important parts of lacrosse for me.”
AJ notes that Holton’s writing-focused curriculum will be an outstanding foundation for Kenyon, a school renowned for writing. “I also feel like the speed I play in the Independent School League (ISL, Holton’s league) will translate well into college.”
She is grateful for her Holton lacrosse coach. “She had faith in me from the start in freshman year and even if I wasn’t playing too much in games, it gave me confidence to grow into the player I am today. I was also definitely pushed to and even past my limit in terms of skill, endurance, strength, and so on. Learning to push through those challenges early will, hopefully, help my transition into college athletics.”
AJ also adds, “I don’t think she’ll ever see this, but I don’t think I would’ve even continued to play lacrosse past fifth grade—let alone get to this point—if it weren’t for my first Rebels coach, Coach Kelly. If I didn’t give her a shoutout here, I know I’d regret it.”
Congratulations to all of these Panthers! We wish you the best of luck as you embark on the next chapter!