Seven Cocalico seniors sign with schools

By on February 25, 2015
Seven Cocalico athletes announced their college intentions during a ceremony in the school library on Feb. 4. They included (front row, left to right): Sidney Evans, Courtney Forry and Olivia Haas. (Back, l-r): Dana DeBalko, Sam Marino, Natalie Sukanick and Lauren Marte. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

Seven Cocalico athletes announced their college intentions during a ceremony in the school library on Feb. 4. They included (front row, left to right): Sidney Evans, Courtney Forry and Olivia Haas. (Back, l-r): Dana DeBalko, Sam Marino, Natalie Sukanick and Lauren Marte. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

Much of the attention Wednesday, February 4 was on college football. More specifically, it was signing day for high school seniors committing to play next year at the NCAA Division One or Division Two level in all sports. Statewide, Penn State fans were thrilled to hear that the Lions secured a top 15 class on the gridiron. It also seems like the rich get richer as Alabama and Ohio State are ranked numbers one and two in football recruits.

Locally, 60 people attended a National Letter of Intent Day ceremony at Cocalico High School library where seven seniors made the big reveal. What sport they would play in college and at which school they would attend. By name they are: Dana DeBalko, Sidney Evans, Courtney Forry, Olivia Haas, Samantha Marino, Lauren Marte and Natalie Sukanick.

Lady Eagles lacrosse coach Mary Beth Cardin had the honor of introducing four members of her 2015 squad. The four will be part of a team that made it all the way to the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championship game last spring.

The most decorated of the four is Sukanick, one of the rarest of all athletes, earning 12 varsity letters in her high school career. The three sports were tennis, basketball and the one that she will pursue at Millersville University, lacrosse.

“Natalie is the best overall athlete I’ve ever coached,” said Cardin in presenting Sukanick. “She’s quick, has great endurance and is always responsible for guarding the other team’s best player.”

When it was her turn to talk, the Cocalico senior thanked all of her coaches and her two older brothers.

“They never took it easy on me, and they became my biggest fans, even when they were more than 100 miles away,” she said.

Her final words were aimed at her parents.

“There is no combination of words that can describe how grateful I am,” she said. “I hope to repay them for all of the love and support.”

Cocalico senior swimmer Sam Marino signs her National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Delaware. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

Cocalico senior swimmer Sam Marino signs her National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Delaware. (Photo by Denise Mitchell)

Going forward, Sukanick will major in chemistry at Millersville.

“Maybe I’ll end up in research on the medical side,” she said. “For now, I’ll take all of the general chemistry classes.”

As to the question, why the ‘Ville, she responded, “It was pretty simple. If the school didn’t have my major, they were eliminated. I attended a camp at Millersville last August and saw how the coaches worked with the team. I committed pretty much on the spot.”

Marte will take her considerable lacrosse goaltending skills to Lock Haven University.

“Lauren is a two time member of the Central Penn National Tournament team,” said Cardin. “And she is one of the happiest players I’ve ever known.”

No surprise then, that she chose a school where she was most comfortable.

“The coaches and team made me feel at home,” added the Lady Eagle senior. “Academically I’m undecided, but it’s a small campus with a variety of majors.”

Marte also explained how the process took a turn.

“I was set on Towson, but they got another goalie,” she explained.

Katie Costanza (2014 Cocalico teammate) is a freshman now at Lock Haven.

“I went to visit last spring and committed right away.” As to which direction her studies will take her, Marte replied, “Probably something in Art. Perhaps even computer animation.”

“Olivia Haas is the vocal leader on the defensive end of the field,” said Cardin during her intro. “She is fearless.”

The Cocalico senior will travel to the far northwest corner of the state to play lacrosse for Edinboro University, becoming the third to enroll in a PSAC school.

“The team is like one big family,” detailed Haas.

And the importance of family became abundantly clear in her next, very emotional words.

“I’d like to thank my mom for all of the support, even though she didn’t know the game.”

Haas will pursue a career in nursing at Edinboro. She described the recruiting process.

“I looked first at the college board for my major,” she said. “Then I filled out the recruiting form and practiced with the team. The athletics and the academics are pretty even.”

The fourth lacrosse player on the dais was Courtney Forry.

“She has great stick skills and speed,” noted Cardin. “She really should register her stick as a lethal weapon. She has great field awareness.”

Forry also credited family when she reached the microphone.

“I’d like to thank my dad for being on this journey with me.”

Forry will take that magic stick to Bridgeport University in Connecticut. While hoping to complete the dental hygiene program, Forry emphasized the importance of secondary education.

“I want to fit both education and lacrosse, but the sport isn’t as important as the education,” she said. As to her goals for college sports, “I want to make an impact while I’m there.”

Dana DeBalko is joining the most successful college team of the lot, that being the Division Two champion field hockey team at Millersville University.

“She made a large impact on the team this year,” said the Lady Eagles first year coach Brynn Adams.

When talking about how the decision fell into place, DeBalko simplified the process.

“The atmosphere seems to fit me well.”

The team will have a decidedly Lancaster County feel as well.

“I’ve gotten to know Jess Lapp, from Solanco, and there are a couple of girls from Hempfield,” added DeBalko.

As to the direction of her education?

“I’m thinking international business. I like using different languages and also finance,” she said.

A last second invitation to a Disney Showcase last February led to a partial scholarship for the Cocalico senior.

The final two announcements came from perhaps the most challenging athletic undertaking, that being Division One swimming.

Coach Matt Woods had the pleasure of introducing Samantha Marino and Sidney Evans, who have been tearing through Lancaster-Lebanon League pools since they were freshmen. Those four years were capped recently with a Section Two win over Elizabethtown, bringing the Lady Eagles section record during the Evans-Marino era to 24-0.

“No one works harder,” said Woods of Evans. “She is the definition of a role model because she does it the right way. It will be my pleasure to have another month to watch her compete.”

Evans has received a nomination from U.S. Congressman Joe Pitts to attend West Point. She awaits word from the admissions team as to her appointment. If unable to attend the service academy, she will take her talents to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve my country after the years of education,” remarked Evans about the opportunity.

“Sidney holds the school record for the 200 Individual Medley and the 500 Freestyle,” said Woods. “She also is part of all three record holding relays at Cocalico.”

“My major is Chemistry,” added Evans, “but I’m not sure where that will lead me.”

In addition to Army and Duquesne, she also looked at Lehigh and Lafayette.

“The Patriot League is very competitive and the academics are great,” she said. “I feel like I can contribute right away and I’m looking forward to meeting new people.”

Last but not least was Marino, who owns the other half of the Cocalico swimming record book.

“Sam holds the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke records,” noted Woods, “And she also is part of the same three relay marks.”

The coach went on to define what he means, when he says Sam is “loud.”

“She is a natural leader, both confident and positive,” he said. “Because she has those qualities, I want her to be loud.”

Marino will attend and compete at the University of Delaware.

“I always imagined going there because my dad said I had to when I was young,” she joked.

“She also gave props to her mother for steering her career.

“I’d like to thank my mom for telling me I was bad at dance,” she said.

Marino plans to major in exercise science.

“I’d like to do occupational and physical therapy for kids with special needs,” she said.

As far as her work in the pool?

“I’ll definitely be a back stroker. One of the back strokers will graduate, so I’m hoping to fill in a slot. I’d love to make the NCAA cuts and make the cut at some point for the Olympic Trials.”

This is just the start for the seven young ladies from Cocalico. There may still be high school competitions to complete, but the beginning of the collegiate road is in sight. As the past four years have flown quickly by, the next four will be more so. The families, teachers, coaches, fellow students and community wish you well.

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