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Signing day: More than a dozen area athletes sign with colleges

Kaneland Knights Josh Marczuk (23) fights off the tackle attempt by Lindblom Eagles Marquan Lane (23) during the 5A football first round game between the Kaneland Knights vs the Lindblom Eagles at Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Chicago, IL. Friday October 27th, 2017.  Gary E Duncan Sr. for Shaw Media
Kaneland Knights Josh Marczuk (23) fights off the tackle attempt by Lindblom Eagles Marquan Lane (23) during the 5A football first round game between the Kaneland Knights vs the Lindblom Eagles at Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Chicago, IL. Friday October 27th, 2017. Gary E Duncan Sr. for Shaw Media

Dan Baggett chose the shot of a tile over an NCAA Division I football title.

Aly Moore and Karrisa Vieyra chose to be a part of something from the ground up.

Sycamore girls soccer teammates Jenna Lewey and Ella Holland each singed with D-I program.

More than a dozen area athletes signed National Letters of Intent or otherwise committed with to further their careers at the collegiate level of National Signing Day on Wednesday.

In addition to the two Sycamore athletes, 10 total athletes from DeKalb committed, along with four from Kaneland and one from Hiawatha.

For Baggett, he had the chance to play at the Football Championship Subdivision level – he said he had an offer from Valparaiso – but elected to go to Whitewater instead. The Warhawks won six national titles between 2007 and 2014.

The linebacker said it was a little hard to choose a D-III program over a D-I, but said he feels it's the right choice for him

"It is, but that's the thing talking to guys up there – a lot of them were recruited DI," Baggett said. "They all chose Whitewater for various reasons like the championship atmosphere and the great facilities Whitewater does have."

Last year, DeKalb's Zuerek Day signed with Whitewater.

"I went up there and stayed with him, and he showed me around showed me his dorm and some other players that I talked to," Baggett said. "A lot of them had a whole lot of options, DI, DII, DIII, and they all chose Whitewater because of the championship atmosphere. It's like a brotherhood."

His teammate, safety Brian Ross, will head to NIU as a prefer walk-on. He doesn't have a scholarship, but he'll have a spot on the 105-man roster at the start of fall camp and the chance to earn a scholarship down the line.

"I'll probably have to work harder than everybody else coming in," Ross said. "Everybody else coming in will have full rides, so I have to work harder and do a little bit more."

He's not the only one signing a PWO at a Division I school. Kaneland wide receiver Josh Marczuk passed on a couple NAIA scholarship offers to go to Eastern Kentucky.

Marczuk said it was a tough choice but the right one after visiting and falling in love with the campus.

"I just just knew I wanted to be where I wanted to be, not where I didn't feel like I was home," Marcuzk said. "It's worth a little more money just to feel welcome."

The Spartans will have a pair of girls soccer teammates go to the Division I level – Lewey will play for NIU and Holland is heading for Northern Kentucky.

Lewey said the proximity of the college was definitely a plus, but the main draw was how well she like the program.

"I really liked the team and everything about the program," Lewey said. "It's also close to my family and I thought I'd fit in well there."

Holland had offers from, among other schools, Valparaiso and Troy despite missing all of last prep season with an injury. She chose NKU, which is just south of Cincinnati and made the NCAA tournament in its first year of eligibility.

"The campus was really nice and it's pretty close, just over the Ohio River," Holland said. "It was just nice from a lot of aspects."

Moore and Vieyra will be a part of the first Kishwaukee cross country team. Both said they are looking forward to the opportunity.

For Moore, she had an offer from Augustana as well but chose the Kougars in part because they have her major of choice – auto mechanics.

"I'm really excited to see how this group and this team is going to form and work together," Moore said. "I'm really excited to see the new things that are going to happen. ... Kish was right there and had everything I needed."

Vieyra had figured she wasn't going to run in college as she wanted to stay close to home and family and major in early childhood education.

When the offer from Kish came along, she said she was very, very excited.

"I didn't think I'd be able to run in college, cause I wanted to do early-childhood education and I didn't want to go to far," Vieyra said. "So I'm really excited to be a part of this program that's just starting up."


Wednesday signings

DeKalb – Elissa Roose, Long Island University Post, swimming; Bella Bettner, Carleton College, soccer; Haley Brown, Carroll College, soccer; Maddie Hill, Wisconsin-Oshkosh, soccer; Mckenna Wallin, Carthage, soccer; Noah Valin, St. Xavier University, baseball; Aly Moore, Kishwaukee College, cross country; Karrisa Vieyra, Kishwaukee College, cross country; Brian Jay Ross, Northern Illinois, football; Dan Baggett, Wisconsin-Whitewater, Football

Sycamore – Ella Holland, Northern Kentucky, soccer; Jenna Lewey, Northern Illinois, NIU

Kaneland – Lindsay Penkala, Wisconsin-Stout, soccer; Josh Marczuk, Eastern Kentucky, football; Jack Douglas, Wisconsin-River Falls, football; Matt Payton, Augustana College, football

Hiawatha – Justin Parisot, Minnesota-Crookston, football

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