Editor’s Note: Kela Jagoda is the sister of Thomas Jagoda, a staff reporter for 42Fifty. Thomas was not involved in the writing, reporting, or editing of this article.
On Wednesday, Feb. 5, 10 Oswego High School athletes signed their letters of intent to play their respective sports at the collegiate level. Assistant Athletic Director Mark Johnson hosted the signing event; Head Athletic Director Darren Howard was unable to attend due to illness. Johnson opened the event with a heartfelt statement about what it means to play sports at the collegiate level. Principal Mike Wayne was also in attendance, showing his pride for the Panther athletes taking their talents across the country.
10 athletes signed from four sports. Each coach talked about the athletes of their respective sports.
Derek Torza signed with Missouri Valley University in Marshall, MO. Wrestling Head Coach Andrew Cook spoke about Torza’s level of commitment and work ethic.
“Derek has been a tremendous student of the sport since his freshman year and his senior year,” Cook said about Torza’s time as a Panther wrestler. Torza has been a part of the Panthers Wrestling team since his freshman year.
Kela Jagoda signed with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH to play multiple positions with the softball program. Cheyenne Woerman signed with Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN to play infield. Varsity softball head coach Sara Pawlowski spoke about—and congratulated—Woerman and Jagoda on their commitment to play at the collegiate level. Pawlowski also spoke about how proud late softball coach Amanda Stanton would have been of them playing at the next level.
“ both have tremendous work ethic both on and off the field. Both colleges they are going to are extremely academic…so they should be proud of their efforts ,” Pawlowski said.
Steven Udy signed with Anderson University in Anderson, SC to play midfield. Norman Hernandez signed with the University of Illinois – Springfield to play forward. Kaden Young signed with Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisc. to play defender. Varsity soccer coach Gaspar Arias spoke about his three athletes signing. Arias mentioned with every player, their dedication and work ethic is something that will help them throughout their college playing careers.
“ is a very disciplined player and he is very dedicated. He works really hard,” Arias said. “ is very disciplined and dedicated.” Udy was also a three-time all-conference player and captain.
Darren Mancke signed with Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa to catch in their program. Josh Grimes signed with Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill., to join the baseball program. Head coach Joe Giarrante spoke about their playing careers at OHS. Grimes, who has only ever played on the JV squad, has been showing an extended level of commitment to the OHS baseball program.
“ has done a great job dedicating himself to program. As well as all the other little things that go into playing baseball at the next level,” Giarrante said. Mancke, who has been a utility player to OHS’s baseball team will be playing catcher at Cornell.
“I’m just really excited to be joining a great program, I’ve known the coaches for over a year now,” Mancke said. Cornell’s baseball program has been on the up in recent years. Mancke hopes to go after the conference title in his time in Iowa.
Panther Football had athletes Jack Hugunin, Troy Warner, and Nico Goodwin commit on Wednesday. Goodwin signed with North Central College in Naperville, Ill., to kick and punt. Hugunin signed with Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., to play defensive line. Warner signed with Aurora University to play offensive line. Head coach Brian Cooney was excited for his players especially since both Warner and Hugunin’s older brothers played in college as well. “It’s one of the best days we have in the program,” Cooney said. Both Hugunin and Warner were captains for this past season and role models to the lower level players.
“I think that all these guys—the lower level guys can look up to Jack, Nico, and Troy,” Cooney said. While taking pictures, Hugunin’s girlfriend, former Oswego student and softball player Annie Scaramuzzi, could not be in attendance, was on video call so she could be there for his big moment.
All of the 10 athletes that signed have found their future homes for the next four years. Surrounded by friends and family, they take the next steps of their lives.