8 Kits commit to Division 1 athletics at Fall National Signing Day


On Wednesday Nov. 14, eight ETHS seniors committed to Division 1 athletic programs. Seniors Annika Destefano, Rosemary Gibbons, Lucy Hogan, Lance Jones, Keara Kerr, Trevor Nelson, Olivia O’Donnell and Abby Osterlund signed their national letters of intent, finalizing the arduous recruitment process.

**Stories on the commitments of Hogan, Jones and O’Donnell have been previously published by The Evanstonian and are linked in the article below.

Annika Destefano –  Cornell University Soccer

By Chloe Haack

Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, Senior midfielder Annika Destefano signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York next fall.

After receiving offers from schools such as Dartmouth, Northwestern and Yale, Destefano made the decision that Cornell was the perfect fit, as she discovered something exciting about the school each and every time she visited.

“I visited Cornell many times and every time I went I found something new that I loved,” Destefano explained. “It had the best of both worlds for me. I was interested in a lot of the majors it had to offer and I also felt very at home with the team and coaches there.”

In addition to connecting with the team and coaching staff easily, she also felt the academic rigor fit her and her family’s values.

“My father went to Cornell and my mother went to Dartmouth,” she said. “So there was a natural affinity towards that environment.”

During her junior season, she tore her ACL, an injury that many would consider career ending in an endurance sport such as soccer, but the injury didn’t halt her invincible work ethic. In the offseason, Destefano made a habit of going to physical therapy, which not only strengthened her knee but also helped elevate her total game.

“Continuing to lift, condition and train will put me in the best position for when I go to Cornell in the fall,” Destefano said.

Though committing to a prestigious school and soccer program would cause many to lose focus on the high school season, Destefano will look to focus on the little things in her senior season.

“Whether that means achieving a goal our team has made, giving our all in a game or finishing those last suicides during practice,” Destefano said. “By the end of season there will be an overall feeling of pride because we know we gave our best effort.”

Rosemary Gibbons – Michigan State University Rowing

By Michael Barthelemy

Sports Captain

Senior Rosemary Gibbons announced her commitment to Michigan State University on Wednesday as a rower, despite having no experience prior to this year.

Gibbons, a lifelong volleyball player, had never before considered rowing and thus was shocked when approached about the possibility to start a new sport at this point in her life. Despite knowing little about the sport itself, she was intrigued by the offer MSU gave, and the opportunity to try something new.

“I’ve been playing volleyball most of my life and, honestly, I was getting a little burned out. It’s still fun, but I wasn’t totally sure if I wanted to spend the next four years giving everything to volleyball,” Gibbons said. “When I got the rowing opportunity, it was just something new and interesting. I couldn’t really pass it up, to be an athlete at a Big Ten school.”

Gibbons had been set on continuing her volleyball career in college, previously committing to Wittenberg University. She had never once considering rowing.

“I actually got recruited at one of my volleyball tournaments, weirdly enough. I was at nationals playing with my club volleyball team that I play on in the spring and summer,” Gibbons explained. “The Michigan State rowing coaches were there and they said that first of all they liked my attitude… and also my body type.”

Though this situation may seem unique, in fact it is quite common, as many schools look to recruit athletes playing different sports. Rowing is mostly club-based at the high school level and as a result is not well known, leaving schools with few recruits with experience. In fact, at a rowing clinic Gibbons attended over the summer, most of the girls attending had no exposure to the sport prior to the event.

Despite being completely new to rowing, Gibbons was told by the Spartan coaches not to practice her form before the start of next season. Instead, the team recommended large amounts of cardio work in order to build up the endurance to last the entirety of a race.

“[Michigan State] doesn’t want me to row outside of school, because it’s easier for them to teach me their techniques, rather than having to break a bad habit if I were to start rowing at a club this year before I got to college.” Gibbons said.

While rowing requires much more cardiovascular endurance than anything Gibbons has experienced before, she is up for the challenge, and excited to begin her journey as a Division I athlete next fall.

Lucy Hogan – University of Michigan Diving

Wildkit to Wolverine








Lance Jones – Southern Illinois University Basketball

Jones commits to SIU ahead of senior season








Keara Kerr – Miami University (Ohio) Soccer

By Peter Barbato, Izzy Lobin, Sophia Weglarz

Staff Writers, Assistant Opinion Editor

While the prospect of college commitment may seem daunting to most young athletes, senior Keara Kerr committed to the Miami of Ohio soccer program before even finishing her freshman year.

“The commitment process is not easy and it seems that girls keep getting younger and younger when they commit,” Kerr said. “But, my club has helped with my commitment process by giving me lots of opportunities.”

Kerr has been playing soccer since she was four, but, when she was 11, Kerr switched club teams and started playing for FC United, where she has played ever since. However, once spring rolls around, Kerr devotes most of her time to the ETHS girls soccer team. As a varsity starter since her freshman year, she has received accolades ranging from all-Conference to all-Sectional.

“I owe a lot to my high school team and coach. I love every day I go to practice with them,” Kerr said. “They make me remember why I love soccer so much.”

Kerr primarily looked for schools in the Midwest before finding Miami of Ohio, whose community environment appealed to Kerr above all else.

“I loved the campus and the girls that I had met on the team,” Kerr explained. “I really saw myself being happy there, which I think was the biggest thing for me.”

After her final season with ETHS this spring, Kerr will begin her collegiate career full of excitement to see what new adventures soccer will bring her in the coming years.

“You have to find a place that wants you and that you want to be a part of,” Kerr said. “I love soccer, and I just hope to keep playing as much soccer as I can and develop myself into a better person and player by learning from my new teammates and coaches.”

Trevor Nelson – University of Pennsylvania Diving

By Eli Cohen

Sports Captain

Senior diver Trevor Nelson officially signed his letter of intent committing to the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

“When I took my trip to Penn in the fall, I really fell in love with the campus and it was a really good balance of fun, diving and academics,” Nelson said.

While Nelson will become a Division I athlete at Penn, the opportunities for him to thrive aren’t just on the board and in the pool.

“For me, school has always been number one and diving is number two,” Nelson explained.

Nelson verbally committed to Penn on Sept. 27, choosing the prestigious Ivy League over Brown and Georgetown.

“I absolutely fell in love with the school, fell in love with the team and I really just clicked there,” Nelson said. “The next weekend I went to Brown and I didn’t have the same experience, so I knew pretty early on that Penn was my school.”

Following the Brown visit, Nelson informed Penn that he wanted to join their team. He had enough certainty in his decision to cancel his visit to Georgetown.

Nelson still has one season remaining in his career wearing orange and blue, as he will be a captain this winter for the Boys Swim and Dive team.

Nelson’s accomplishments at ETHS are as impressive as any other diver’s in the illustrious history of the program. Nelson has qualified for state all three years of his high school career. In the 2017-2018 season, Nelson posted a score of 564.4 at sectionals, setting an ETHS record and beating out ETHS alum and Duke diver, Harel Anolick, who came in second.

After such a long stressful process, Nelson will enjoy his last season at ETHS as he looks to build on past successes before continuing his diving career in the Ivy League.

Olivia O’Donnell – University of Illinois Gymnastics








Abby Osterlund – Northwestern University Cross Country

By Sophia McCandlish

Sports Captain

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, senior cross country star Abby Osterlund committed to run at Northwestern University next fall.

After receiving offers from three total schools, Northwestern and two others that have not been disclosed, Osterlund chose Northwestern, which she believes to be the perfect fit.

“It was the environment I was looking for. I could really see myself as a part of the team. When I went on my official visit, I really loved all the girls on the team,” Osterlund explained.

When Northwestern recruiters first reached out, Osterlund was both thrilled and surprised. She knew it was a perfect fit just based on the first interactions with the coach.

Throughout the season, Osterlund worked tirelessly, making state and earning 61st place. With the incredibly high placement along with committing to run at a DI program, she believes that the hard work paid off in the end.

While the process was very overwhelming, though finally deciding where to go was very exciting and lifted a tremendous amount of weight off her shoulders.

“I was super excited because NU has always been a dream of mine,” Osterlund said. “It was also a huge relief because the whole college process can be overwhelming. Overall, I’m just really happy with how things worked out.”

Osterlund is the only female cross country runner to commit to a school so far. After all the stress, she felt happy with her final decision.

“My favorite part of the process was committing and having no regrets about it,” Osterlund said.

After a rewarding fall season, Osterlund seeks to improve her craft during track season before displaying her talent on the mainstage that is Northwestern University.