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Shenendehowa senior student-athletes Billy Beach, Chase Carroll, Emily Carroll, Abby Danson, Grace DeChiro, Duncan Hill, Thomas Krill, Jacob Mayo, Jennifer McClintock, Lauren Pendergast, Taylor Ralston, Jake Reinisch, Bella Silaika, Talia Spenziero, Isabella Stuart Simone Walker and Kaitlyn Watrobski gathered to celebrate their college commitments in the Shen High School East Gym Thursday afternoon.

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – There are celebrations on the field, during practices and in the locker room for many student athletes and they occur throughout a number of seasons, but there are some celebrations that are special, only occur to a chose few and deserve a big room.

17 Shenendehowa High School student-athletes were celebrated Thursday afternoon inside the High School East gymnasium, not only for their accomplishments as a Plainsmen, but also for what they will be for the next four years at the next level.

This year’s fall National Letter of Intent signing celebration saw athletes from all three seasons, from land and water, individual and team events gather in front of fans, friends and family and celebrate their college decisions for academics and sports.

Two-sport star Billy Beach will eventually put down a football, hopefully not until Thanksgiving for the Plainsmen before picking up a lacrosse stick one last time for his local green and white squad before traveling down I-88 to compete for the Binghamton University Bearcats and its Division I lacrosse program next year.

“Binghamton just felt like the right fit for me, obviously I wanted to play lacrosse in college and I wasn't sure if I was going to play lacrosse and football, but I got on the campus for a summer lacrosse tournament and I met the coaches,” Billy Beach said. “We stayed in the dorms overnight so I really got a feel for the school, the campus and academically I just felt like it was the right fit for me, something about the green and white.”

The future engineering major chose Binghamton over LeMoyne, Stonhill College and even a chance at playing football at Villanova.

“It was more about the school and the academic thing,” Beach said. “I don't necessarily see myself playing professionally, so I just thought that it would be the better fit.

“I kept my options open even after the verbal commitment, but I'm happy with the decision I made.”

Beach has been a force for the Section II Class AA football champions and will showcase his talents once again Friday night against Pine Bush in the NYSPHSAA East sub-regional at Shaker High school.

Binghamton saw his talents during a three-day summer tournament and his appearance in the all-star finale.

“They liked my quickness, my IQ, they thought I could be a guy who could come in right away and whether it’s at midfield or at attack, just be a difference-maker for the offense, try to rejuvenate the offense a little bit,” Beach said.

Shenendehowa field hockey goalie Abby Danson is going to be on a big stage, one of the biggest in the Midwest as she committed to Ohio State University and the Buckeyes.

“Just the overall aspect, surrounded by athletics there, the way they treat their student athletes, all the programs that are available to help them out with their studies too,” Abby Danson said.

She chose The Ohio State over University of New Hampshire, UMass-Amherst and even locally, Skidmore College.

“As soon as you're on campus you're star struck,” Danson said. “It’s incredible, all the facilities and you see all the athletes walking around on campus, you want to be one of those athletes.”

It has been a long wait for Danson who gave a verbal commitment to Ohio State as a sophomore. By signing her National Letter of Intent, her decision is official, her search stops and the recruiting calls from other colleges and universities also cease.

“It's less worrying about if I'm going to get hurt or not, anything can happen within those three years and now I'm finally signed and ready to get on campus,” Danson said.

Ohio State head coach Jared Martin was impressed by Danson’s confidence in the net.

“I am more calm compared to other goalies, I don't frazzled really easily, I don't really show emotion sometimes,” Danson said. “Some coaches don't like that, but I like to stay calm when I'm in the cage.”

Shenendehowa rower Taylor Ralston is joining a much larger program with an even larger boathouse next fall as she will be rowing for Rutgers University.

“They seemed to have all the aspects I was looking for, the location is relatively close to home, the academics are very strong for the area of study I want to go into and the team amazed me,” Taylor Ralston said.

The biomedical sciences major chose Rutgers over the University of Louisville and FIT, Florida Institute of Technology, utilizing her profile to put her search out on-line.

“In the rowing world my height (5-foot, 6-inches) is definitely not an attractive thing that helped me get recruited,” Ralston said. “But one thing that this coach, Justin Price said to me was that he liked my aggression on the erg. He saw a big PR (personal record) from me in a short amount of time.”

“(Price) was very welcoming and he had a lot to show, a lot to back him up,” she said. “He's new to the program and they had a very good two year run with him, so they had a lot to show for that.”

Now she has to work her way up from entering the freshman/novice boat next fall and potentially into the top women’s varsity eight.

“It's a very big team, I'm recruited to a 70-person varsity roster, not a lot of seats for the top boat, but I hope senior year, possibly junior year, we can have a shot at that. Right now I guess I'm just focused on holding my own and seeing what I can do with that.”

Shenendehowa senior swimmer Bella Silaika wanted some familiar faces around when she went to college and there is no one more familiar to her than family.

Bella will join current LeMoyne College sophomore and sister, Vicky Silaika, and will be taking the place in almost every way for her older sister, Karen Silaika, next fall for the Dolphins.

“I like to know people before I go so I have a sense of security and seeing them there will be really nice and the one that is a sophomore and I want to do the same thing, so it will nice to have someone guide me through the major, the law program and all the classes,” Bella Silaika said.

With two other Silaika’s on the LeMoyne squad, adding other was an easy fit for Coach Joe Hannah.

“Me and my oldest sister (Karen) do the exact same events and have very similar times and since she's leaving it was really easy for me to go in and replace her and keep the team where it is,” Bella Silaika said. “They also liked I had double knee surgery, so they could see that I was hard working, getting back into it and I have a lot of dedication to it.”

The future law major chose LeMoyne over Siena College and Hamilton College.

Her sisters have showed her the way in the pool before at Shenendehowa and will once again at LeMoyne.

“It's a lot harder, there is a lot more dry land (training), a lot more swimming, but it so worth it because you get to have a family there, do what you love and still be going to school.”

Shen's Super 17 student-athletes and selections

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3
Name Sport College
Billy Beach Lacrosse Binghamton U
Chase Carroll Baseball UAlbany
Emily Carroll Softball Sacred Heart
Abby Danson Field Hockey Ohio State
Grace DeChiro Field Hockey Providence
Duncan Hill Lacrosse Bucknell
Thomas Krill Baseball Saint Rose
Jacob Mayo Lacrosse Roberts Wesleyan
Jennifer McClintock Track and Field Siena
Lauren Pendergast Lacrosse Saint Rose
Taylor Ralston Crew Rutgers
Jake Reinisch Baseball Wake Forest
Bella Silaika Swimming LeMoyne
Talia Spenziero Diving Siena
Isabella Stuart Basketball New Hampshire
Simone Walker Basketball Adelphi
Kaitlyn Watrobski Basketball St. Thomas Aquinas
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