With Summit High School’s spring sports season winding down and graduation just around the corner, seven of the school’s graduating seniors are already looking ahead to next fall and continuing their athletic careers. Track and cross-country runners Liam Meirow, Kathrine Pappas and Robert Koegel, girls lacrosse players Kates Raymond and Tucker Hackett, and girls rugby players Lilly Weldon and Taylor Bolender all will continue their athletic careers in college this fall.
“I think their fantastic,” Summit athletic director Amy Raymond said of the soon-to-be graduating athletes. “If you look at the character of these kids and their determination, they’re great students along with being disciplined in their athletics. The lowest GPA was a 3.2 all the way up to a 4.3. That’s impressive.”
While she couldn’t confirm numbers, Raymond said this was definitely one of the larger groups of Summit athletes to commit to continuing their sports at the collegiate level.
With his eyes still focused on adding a state title in track to his cross-country title last fall, multiple school record holder Liam Meirow opted to continue his running career at the University of Oklahoma.
While not initially a place he thought he’d end up, Meirow said he was won over by the coach and impressed when he had the chance to visit.
“University of Oklahoma was the first school to contact me — in August, I think it was. I have a lot of respect for the coach for doing that,” Meirow said. “After I took my visit I thought, ‘Wow, I could see myself there.’”
Meirow was also recruited by the University of Colorado, Washington State and a number of others.
Fellow runner Kathrine Pappas committed to Denver’s Division II Regis University.
“I’m really excited I get to continue everything I worked hard for in high school.”
For Pappas — attracted to the school’s bio chemistry program — it was as much about academics as athletics.
“I wanted to do D II because it’s challenging but not overly challenging from an athletic standpoint. From the academic standpoint it’s a really good school.”
Pappas called Regis her dream school and said she really enjoyed meeting the coaching staff.
Robert Koegel rounded out the trio of college-bound Summit runners, opting for Division III Webster University in St. Louis.
“I wanted to move to a city,” he said of his decision. “I grew up in Summit and I wanted to see what else is out there.”
Koegel said that as soon as he broke the 18-minute mark in cross-country last fall, schools started to express interest. He’ll be looking to study international business when he starts there this fall.
Summit’s cross-country coach, Heather Quarantillo, was proud of the three.
“It’s so exciting to have three runners going on to run collegiate cross-country and track.
Lacrosse: Kates Raymond decided to continue her academic and athletic career at Division II Adams State University in Alamosa. Recruited for both volleyball and lacrosse, Raymond opted to focus on lacrosse.
“I originally went (to visit) for just the nursing program and lacrosse was kind of like a bonus. I’m really excited, I can’t wait,” she said. Raymond’s teammate Tucker Hackett will play lacrosse for Division II Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.
“I grew up in Long Island (until fifth grade). It’s like in our blood to do it out there,” Hackett said of playing lacrosse. She said her father — a former All-American at University of Maryland — has been her inspiration to keep playing.
“Seeing how far he got with lacrosse makes me want to be like him.”
But she said she opted for Division III in order to focus on academics and have a slightly less regimented athletic commitment.
“I’m going to school for school. I’m not going to be a professional lacrosse player some day. I’m going to be a nurse and I need a career.”
Rugby: All-American girls rugby player Lilly Welldon is bound for Division I next fall. She will continue her athletic career at Quinnipiac Univeristy in Hamden, Conn.
“It’s an experience I can’t pass up on,” she said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
She will join former teammate and 2013 Summit grad Hailey Wyatt at Quinnipiac.
“I know she was really excited when she went out there,” Summit coach Karl Barth said. “Hopefully it will be a really good fit for her.”
He said that in her four years at Summit, Weldon grew into a strong player, earning All-American honors along with number of other accolades.
“Lilly was a handful when she was young. I always knew she’d do something with it,” Barth said. “Her maturity over the last year has been unbelievable. She’s always had a lot of talent but whether she had the focus or the drive was the question when she was younger.”
After only a year on the team, Weldon’s teammate Taylor Bohlender also earned an opportunity to continue playing rugby in college. She will attend Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo.
For the soon-to-be vocal performance major, the chance to continue playing rugby came as a bit of a surprise.
“Music is my life. I’ve done it for as long as I could remember,” she said. Rugby was “something I didn’t really plan on doing. I’m so glad I’m playing it.”
Bolender said it was Barth who led her to continue with rugby in college.
Barth said she was a natural. “She worked really hard, learned the game fast. She’s awesome to coach, comes focused to learn every day.”