PERRYSBURG, Ohio — It’s supposed to be a day of celebration for high school seniors signing to play in college, but without the ability to gather at the school, Perrysburg got creative.
With schools shut down, Perrysburg did something unique. The 14 seniors signing their national letters of intent to play in college would normally gather inside the gym for a huge ceremony. They couldn’t do that, but it didn’t stop them from celebrating their big moment.
One by one, Yellow Jacket seniors took their turn thanking family, coaches, and friends for the opportunity to play at the next level. All of this was done via Zoom. It wasn’t the way this was supposed to go down, but they were thankful for the opportunity to share the special day with loved ones.
“Even though it sucks we couldn’t do it in person, but still getting that moment to give thanks to the people I owe thanks to, it was big,” said Blake Saito. “I’m so thankful for that.”
Blake Saito will wrestle at Brown University. It’s been his dream to wrestle in the Ivy League. The moment, for him, was emotional.
“I’d like to thank my dad for being with me every step of the way, working out with me every morning and not missing a club practice all these years, and driving me all over the country in order for me to compete,” said Saito. “I’ve been so blessed to have so many people surround me who have become part of my family and have helped me reach this goal. I want to thank coach Scott Burnett, coach Marinelli from Olentangy Liberty, and my club coach.”
"Over the last month a lot has been taken away, out of control from our seniors,” Athletic Director Chuck Jaco told students. “Today is something they can’t take away from us and that’s a day of celebration.”
For Athletic Director Chuck Jaco, it was important to make sure the seniors still got their moment to shine. Whether they were in school, or not.
“As soon as I got off the zoom, I’ve got a lot of texts from coaches and the parents,” said Jaco. “My response to all of them was ‘wow, that was genuinely therapeutic.’ Just to see the kids, the parents, my coaches, this is the best I’ve felt in four weeks. Just to have that connection.”
14 seniors in 8 different sports all signed today. Here's a full list:
- Lizzie Kemp - Volleyball - NYU
- Alex Montross - XC and Track - Bluffton University
- Austin Cunningham - XC - University of Toledo
- Brooke Shaffer - Lacrosse - Concordia Ann Arbor
- Kaylee Alarcon - Lacrosse - Urbana University
- Andrew Butera - Lacrosse - Ohio Northern University
- Jared Carr - Bowling - Indiana Tech Fort Wayne
- Connor Much - Football - University of Dayton
- Nic Kilbride - Football - Bowling Green State University
- Gracie Mitchell - Basketball - Lawrence Technical University
- Jade Faris - Basketball - Lawrence Technical University
- Bennet Michel - Lacrosse - Ohio Northern University
- Drew Sims - Football - Heidelberg University
- Blake Saito - Wrestling - Brown University
- Jase Ledyard - Lacross - Pending