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St. Joseph's Academy Celebrates National Signing Day With Nine Seniors That Will Play College Ball Next Year

Volleyball stars Natalie Gower and Alyssa Jensen, and basketball standouts Erin Nelson and Sydney Stipanovich highlight a crew of nine Angels that accepted college scholarships on Wednesday.

FRONTENAC -- Not a single shot was made. Nor were there any backhand winners up the line, nor any kills or digs or assists to keep track of either.

Instead, what the excited crowd of 50-something classmates and parents witnessed on Wednesday afternoon in the St. Joseph's Academy atrium was a collective home run knocked out of the park by nine St. Joe seniors, who celebrated National Signing Day, by inking their names on respective National Letters of Intent to play NCAA sports at the college of their choice next year.

"It's just a testament to the all the hard work these wonderful girls did over their four years here," St. Joe athletics director Michaela Witcher said, as droves of SJA fans and faithful took turns taking pictures of the nine Angel standouts.

On the dais on Wednesday were Natalie Gower, Lauren Gresham, Alyssa Jensen, Courtney Meek, and Anna Reichert of the SJA volleyball team; Grace Hyde and Taylor Revling of the tennis team; and Erin Nelson and Sydney Stipanovich of the basketball team, all of whom made their college selections official by signing and faxing in their NLIs to different schools around the country.

"It's kind of cliche, but it really is a dream come true," Gower said, after signing with Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. "It's been so much work and so many games and so many practices, and to finally be able to make it official is just amazing. We're all very excited."

Teammates Gresham (Dayton), Jensen (California), and Meek (Mizzou) also signed with Division I programs, while Reichert signed with Division II Lindenwood.

Tennis standout Revling also signed with a Division II school, Rockhurst University in Kansas City, while teammate Hyde signed with Butler University in Indiana.

The biggest response of the day came when basketball stars Nelson and Stipanovich spoke about their decisions to sign with SLU and Pennsylvania, respectively.

None of the girls spoke officially during the ceremony. They simply took turns having the names and accomplishments announced, then once Witcher gave the word, collectively signed their national letters, much to the delight of those who attended.

"It means a lot that so many people care about us and wanted to be here for us today," Gower said. "But that's St. Joe. We're a big family."

And Witcher said Wednesday's terrific ceremony was just the beginning.

"We'll be doing it again in February, when some of the girls from soccer and some other sports are ready to sign too," she said. "It just gets bigger and better every time. We love it."

James Baer November 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM
The best collection of athletes anywhere in the community. Congratulations to one and all.

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