Among the differences high school athletes have noticed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the alteration of normal routines, including the usual pomp and circumstance surrounding National Signing Day.
Last week, nearly a dozen athletes from Southern Maryland Athletic Conference schools signed their respective National Letters of Intent for various sports at numerous schools, and did so in near anonymity. With the pandemic still ongoing, most student athletes signed at home while one school had a brief group signing ceremony.
Huntingtown High School football coach Paul Friel noted that three of his seniors; Cameron Dalrymple, Michael Solomon and Colin Wargo, all signed their letters to continue their academic and athletic careers in college. Dalrymple, who took part in the early signing period, inked with Merrimack College, Solomon signed with Notre Dame College in Ohio and Wargo is headed to Fairmont State University.
“Considering that everything all of these guys went through, especially not having a season in the fall, it was great for them to have this opportunity to sign,” Friel said. “Cameron signed with early, but Michael and Colin finally had the chance to sign. Of course, I’m hoping they all get a chance to play some games next month.”
Calvert High School senior Kalli Williams signed her National Letter of Intent late last week to continue her athletic career and academic endeavors at Merrimack College in Massachusetts. Williams, who also plays for the Maryland Elite 18U girls soccer team, opted for Merrimack when that school offered her an immediate chance to play goalie.
“I had basically narrowed it down to two schools and the Merrimack coach reached out to me and said he was going to need a goalie right away,” Williams said. “Just knowing that he wanted me to come play for him right away made it an easier decision. Merrimack was always my top choice, but knowing that the coach wants me to play right away made it that much easier.”
Leonardtown High School seniors Will Johnson and Antonio Marino both signed their letters last Wednesday. Johnson, who spent his first three years at St. Mary’s Ryken, signed his letter to continue his football days at Virginia Tech University likely as a linebacker of defensive back. Marino signed with the Wentworth Institute of Technology for volleyball.
Both Lackey High School senior Jadon Carter and North Point senior Rashawn Sibley signed their National Letters of Intent to play football at Bowie State University, s member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association which plays its home games in Prince George’s County. The Bulldogs were the CIAA champions in 2019, the last season in which the conference offered football.
“I’m excited about the student-athletes that our staff was able to bring into the family,” said Bowie State head football coach Damon Wilson. “The average GPA of this signing class is over 3.0 and the students are coming from winning environments. We were able to add more talent from the DMV that will help us continue to push the program forward. Most of the young men weren’t able to play their senior season because of the pandemic so they will be extremely excited to compete in the fall.”