MIDDLETOWN – Middletown North’s defending Public B State Championship ice hockey program will have a pair of Division I commits suiting up on its top line come opening night in Bobby Hampton (Northeastern) and Khristian Acosta (Quinnipiac), but on Tuesday it was the latter who made it official with a ceremony to sign his National Letter of Intent.
“It’s an honor to sign with Quinnipiac,” said Acosta, who led the Lions in scoring a season ago with 74 points on 32 goals and 42 assists. “This is a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to play Division I hockey, and I was able to make my dream a reality with the help of my friends, teammates, coaches, and family. I can’t wait to get up there.”
Acosta was particularly proud to share the moment with his family, friends, teammates, and coaches.
“My family has always put a lot in for me. My dad always takes me to games and practices. My mom has always sacrificed so much for me. I’m just glad that it’s all paid off. It’s an honor to have them as my mom and dad…I also have to thank my friends, coaches, and teammates. They’ve all supported me through thick and thin. And I want to thank them for everything.”
Middletown North coach Matt Clemente was on hand to celebrate Acosta’s monumental achievement, and reflected on watching the forward develop into the offensive force he’s become.
“It’s a really special moment for him and his family,” Clemente said. “I’ve watched him play 25 games a year. His family has driven to hundreds of games a year up and down the east coast. They invested a lot in him and it’s wonderful to see all the work on and off the ice pay off, and to see his dream realized.”
“I’m really proud of the player and person he’s matured into over the years,” Clemente added. “He’s a good kid, a good teammate, and a good player, and he’s got some gifted athletic ability, but he’s put the hard work in and that’s the main message…And we’re still expecting great things from him over the next five months.”
Members of Shore Conference champion Middletown North softball program were also on hand to celebrate the signing of All-Shore first basemen Christine Gebhardt to Division I Manhattan College.
“It’s flattering to have had my family, coaches and teammates out to celebrate this with me,” said Gebhardt, who batted .510 with five home runs, 44 RBI, and 45 runs scored for the Lions as a junior. “And it feels good, because it’s something I’ve been working for my entire life. I’ve been playing softball since I was five and have worked towards this moment.”
“I need to thank my family, coaches, and teammates for always supporting me,” Gebhardt added. “It’s relieving to see all the hard work pay off, because the process can be very, very stressful. But this day feels great.”
At Rumson-Fair Haven, Athletic Director Chris Lanzalotto announced the signings of 14 athletes. The signings included: Teddy Smith – University of Denver (Swimming), Ian Clarke – Pace University (Lacrosse), Matt Waters – University of Delaware (Lacrosse), Butch Clark – Pace University (Lacrosse), Reid Bedell – Lafayette (Golf), Robbie Garavante – Lafayette(Lacrosse), Maggie Jennings – Villanova (Lacrosse), Jacqueline Littleson – Vanderbilt (Lacrosse), Morgan Steinhacker – Bucknell (Lacrosse), Madison Maguire – Maryland – Field Hockey, Sydney Sabino – Wagner (Basketball), Nicole Morris – Holy Crosse (Basketball), Shoshana Swell – Cornell (Swimming) and Stephanie Lesko – Bryant (Basketball).
At Ranney School, swimmer Audra Smires signed with Lehigh University.
At Southern Regional, Chuck Donohue Jr., the school’s athletic director, announced the signings of two athletes field hockey player Madison Skeie to Providence College and boys basketball player Peyton Wejnert to Pace University.
At Shore Regional, Harry S. Chebookjian, the school’s assistant principal for athletics and activities, announced that following players have made their college choices official. Jessica Welch – Stanford University (Field Hockey), Sarah Dwyer – Boston College (Field Hockey), Anne Deusch – Monmouth University (Fwwield Hockey), Helen Grossman – LSU (Swimming), Sarah George – Ohio State (Lacrosse) and Doug Goldsmith – the University of Albany (Lacrosse).
At Freehold Township, the school announced the signings of soccer players Caleigh Farrell (University of New Hampshire), Victoria Coppa (St. Peter’s), Mark Fasano (American University), Nicole Whitley (Rutgers University), Lacey Powell (Temple University) and rower Colleen Gillis (Miami) and lacrosse player Victoria Camassa (Villanova).
At Red Bank Catholic, the school announced the signing of 10 student athletes. Bryce Sullivan (Belmont Abbey College), Annie Flego (Providence College), Lizzie Small (Sacred Heart University), Kelly Whitlock (St. Francis), Brett Habich (Siena College), Tess Griswold (Furman University), Jack Ipsen (Bryant University), Cameron Lynch (Elon University), Evan Madigan (Bucknell University), Nicole Totland (Monmouth University)
At St. John Vianney, the Lady Lancers girls basketball team will be the favorite on paper this preseason with a loaded senior class. Five players made it official today, Kelly Campbell (Depaul) Kellie Crouch (Wagner), Gigi Caponegro (Long Island University), Zoe Pero (St. Peter’s University), Tina Lebron (Caldwell University)
At Middlettown South, girls basketball guard Steph Karcz signed with Loyola University
At Donovan Catholic, girls basketball guard Kaitlyn Borghesi signed with Georgian Court University
Staff Writers Sherlon Christie and Chris Parker contributed to this story.
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