When Clarksburg High School senior Noella Anyangwe was searching for a college to attend and run track, she had her sights set on Georgetown University.
But earlier this year, the hurdler’s application was denied and she had to turn her attention elsewhere. She decided to commit to the University of Maryland, College Park.
On May 23, Anyangwe, wearing a Maryland t-shirt, was recognized with 16 other classmates in Clarksburg’s gymnasium for a signing ceremony.
“I always wanted to go to [Georgetown] so when I didn’t get in in February, I was kind of devastated,” she said. “But it all worked out because I realized Maryland is my home and I am excited to be a part of Terp nation.”
While Anyangwe is entering a stable program, the future of several other sports at Maryland is uncertain. Last fall, the university announced plans to cut three men’s track teams (cross country indoor track and field, outdoor track and field), men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, women’s water polo and aerobics and tumbling (competitive cheerleading) due to budget concerns unless they meet certain fundraising goals.
In March, the athletic department revised its plan that calls for the men’s track program to drop its winter season and continue competing in the spring with a reduced roster.
“My future is pretty solid, but I hope we can raise enough money so the boys can stick around at full strength,” said Anyangwe, who added the vague future of the various teams did not enter into her decision. “Track needs to stay.”
Classmate Sunita Mengers also did not know where she was going to attend college until recently.
She decided two weeks ago to enroll at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and walk-on to the women’s soccer team under new head coach Leslie Wray.
“They got a whole new coaching staff so this kind of all happened so fast,” Mengers said. “They told me I already made the team.
“I was looking at Division III schools, but the opportunity to play Division I was what I was looking for.”
Mengers will enter college with 50 credits by virtue of taking advanced placement courses in high school.
“It should make my class load a little easier since I am going in almost as a sophomore,” she said. “It’s definitely important since I am playing soccer.”
Other student-athletes honored, include Erick Hock (baseball, New England College), Shane DeCelis (men’s basketball, Nova Southeastern University), Marcus Thomas (men’s basketball, University of Scranton), Jimica Mozie (women’s basketball, Alverno College), Dustin Baker (football, Lawrence University), Stefan Houston (football, Maryland), Mike Sheehan (football, Stevenson University), Barry Solomon (football, Seton Hill University), Connor Miller (men’s lacrosse, York College), Erin Brown (track, Messiah College), Asanka Ekanayake (track, Wittenburg College), Bailee Freeman (track, High Point University), Kim Neff (track, Gettysburg College), Jessica O’Brien (Williams College), Jacqui Young (track, Messiah College)