In these early days of August, many recent Quince Orchard High School grads are preparing to leave home and begin their freshman years in college. For 21 members of the class of 2017, this next step in their education also marks another milestone: the start of their careers as college athletes.
QO student athletes from eight different sports are going on to compete at 16 different colleges and universities, from schools as close as the University of Maryland and Towson University to as far away as Brigham Young University and Assumption College in Worcester, Mass.
“I’m really excited,” said Tristan Dye, a defensive back on last year’s Cougar squad that made it to the state final game. Dye will enter Stevenson University later this month. “I’ve always wanted to play college football ever since I was really little, so now that I finally get the opportunity I’m really, really excited.”
Dye, who will major in biology with a track in physical therapy with the goal of becoming an athletic trainer, is one of 10 members of last year’s football team who will play in college, which may be the highest number ever for a QO squad.
Standout players Fofie Bazzie (University of Maryland), Marvin Beander (Norfolk State University) and Michael Joseph (University of Memphis) have already started their careers at their respective Division I universities. Noah Pagley will compete for a spot as a preferred walk-on at Maryland next year after recovering from a knee injury incurred during lacrosse season.
Dye’s teammate Titus Johnson will join him at Stevenson. Former gridders Samuel Gyeni (Towson University), Hayden August (Shepherd University), Joe Hodges (Dayton University), and Kyle Moats (Bridgewater (Mass.) State University) will also play football in college.
Former QO soccer player Anna Goorevich said, “Being able to play soccer in college is definitely a dream come true.” She will attend Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster, Pa., where boys soccer player Alex Martinez will also compete. Goorevich did not necessarily plan to play sports in college and was mainly looking at schools for academics. But “F&M was a school that I loved and had everything I was looking for academically. The opportunity to play soccer at F&M was kind of a bonus for me, and it was an offer that I couldn’t pass up.”
On the other hand, Johnny Fierstein, the highest scorer in QO basketball history, said, “It means everything to me that I’ll be able to play basketball in college. It’s been a dream of mine since I was in kindergarten to play in college and now that I’m doing it I’m very excited.” Fierstein plans to major in business with a possible minor in journalism at Salisbury University. His teammate on last year’s state runner-up, Matthew Kelly, is preparing to start his career at Assumption.
Girls basketball players Alexa and Giulia Sanmartin will also compete in college—Alexa at Stevenson and Giulia at Wesley College in Delaware.
Giulia said, “Being able to play at the next level kind of gives me reassurance that all the hard work I’ve done throughout the years has paid off.”
For Alexa, who expressed disappointment at not achieving as much as she hoped as a high school player, playing in college gives her a chance at a clean slate. “Having the opportunity to start fresh at a higher level is an amazing feeling because now I can finally prove how good of a player I can be.”
The Sanmartin sisters will have to make one major adjustment in college: For the first time in their lives, they won’t play with each other and their other triplet, Sienna, who was also a QO basketball player.
“Not being with my sisters 24/7 will be a huge difference in my life, both with and without basketball,” said Giulia. She said she will not only miss their companionship, but also “not having my sisters to try and outscore/outplay at practice or a game will definitely be something that I will miss. I am excited to grow as an individual and be independent for the first time in my life, but it won’t take long for me to come visit them.”
Alexa also acknowledged that “not being around my sisters all the time is going to be a huge change for me, but I don’t have any concerns about ‘going solo.’ I wanted to finally separate myself and not be known as the ‘triplet.’”
Basketball teammate Amanda Bishop will join Giulia at Wesley, while Danni Lehner will play at Virginia Wesleyan University.
Other QO 2017 athletes who will compete in college are swimmer Maddy Zarchin (Brigham Young University), diver Joseph Canova (Ohio State University), and wrestler Alec Falconer (Springfield College).