Hard work pays off as Kiski Area wrestlers Connor, Miller sign letters of intent

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | 9:15 PM

Cam Connor and Darren Miller grew up wrestling together from their earliest days in the Kiski Area youth program, so it seemed fitting they also made their college commitments official on the same day.

The Kiski Area seniors both signed their national letter of intent Wednesday, the opening day of the national signing period for most Division I and II athletes, with Connor inking his commitment to Penn and Miller his to Bucknell.

“It was pretty cool because we’ve been going to practice together and everything since like first grade,” Connor said. “Just seeing all our hard work pay off and getting some attention for it and signing, we’ve worked a bunch of years just to get to college. That’s the goal in wrestling. It’s awesome to see all our hard work pay off.”

Wednesday represented the first day Division I or II recruits could sign their NLIs in every sport but football, a change from previous years when different sports had different signing periods. The signing period now remains open in most sports until Aug. 1.

“It’s great just getting accepted and into the school and being able to sign,” Miller said. “Knowing that it’s actually happening is great.”

Two sports still have limited signing periods: football, with an early period from Dec. 19-21 for Division I and a regular period that begins Feb. 6 for Division I and II; and Division I basketball, which has an early signing period from Wednesday until Nov. 21 and a regular period from April 17-May 15.

Connor and Miller, part of Kiski Area’s back-to-back WPIAL Class AAA championship team, joined gymnast Keaghan Schafer, a William and Mary recruit, as Kiski Area senior athletes who signed with Division I programs Wednesday.

“It’s kind of like the icing on top,” Connor said. “Just seeing all the people there who have helped me getting there, having them be there (Wednesday) was special.”

Fox Chapel had a big signing day of its own, as seven athletes made their commitments official. That included four Division I recruits in diver Jonah Cagley (Duke), track and field athlete Kate Carnevale (Davidson), boys tennis player Robby Shymansky (Yale) and girls soccer player Sarah Sinnott (Pitt).

Girls soccer players Katie Feczko and Alexis Schutzman signed with Division II schools Grand Valley State and West Chester, respectively, and girls volleyball player Eras Yager signed with Division III college Kenyon.

Freeport’s Ally DeJidas transitioned from a volleyball mindset to softball when she signed with Mercyhurst. DeJidas starred for the Yellowjackets’ volleyball team, which saw its season end in the PIAA semifinals Tuesday, but the reigning Valley News Dispatch Softball Player of the Year will take her bat and glove to Erie for college.

“It was definitely hard having to go from losing (Tuesday) night and turning around today and having such a high signing,” DeJidas said. “But it’s definitely very exciting to sign.”

DeJidas said she had a large group of family, friends, coaches and teammates to witness her signing Wednesday morning.

“It felt great to have so much support,” she said.

Lindsie Galbreath, Knoch’s all-time leading scorer in girls soccer, signed with Cal (Pa.), while Burrell also has a pair of athletes who planned to sign Wednesday or later this week: girls soccer player Kaylee Pagane with Waynesburg and softball player Kayla Santucci with Pitt-Greensburg.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Doug at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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