Commending College Commits

By Julia Si


College application season is in full swing, and seniors across the country are writing their life stories and polishing their resumes to apply to their dream universities and colleges. They hit the “send application” button with the hopes that they will get accepted into the schools of their choice. The process can be daring and tricky but also exciting at the same time. Even though the majority of the student body goes through this scary and tricky application process, what exactly is it like for aspiring collegiate athletes?


For some, the recruiting process can begin as early as their freshman year. In recent years, the rate of recruitment has accelerated at such a fast pace that colleges around the country are constantly looking for the fastest and strongest players who also have stellar academic records. Optimistic high school athletes not only have to achieve high recognition in their sport, but they also have to excel in the classroom too. In hopes of receiving a scholarship, the majority of these hopeful commits pour their hearts and souls into their sport to attract the attention of collegiate coaches.


Sources from Maria Poulos, Luke Orbon, and Nicolette Caneda

NHP student-athletes Maria Poulos, Luke Orbon, and Nicolette Caneda get ready to embark on their journeys at their Division I schools.


“The recruiting process was an extremely difficult and overall testing experience. There was constant pressure to perform at my very best, but I had to keep my head up through hard times and never settle for what I thought was ‘good enough.’ I developed thick skin and it was the most rewarding process I've ever taken part in,” said senior Division I commit Nicolette Caneda.


“I’m so passionate about playing and I knew through all of the sweat, tears, and long hours of work that I would make it,” said senior Division III commit Paige Jones.


Some of NHP’s very own seniors have committed to playing collegiate sports at different colleges and universities. For the past four years, these athletes have worked tirelessly in the recruitment process to continue playing their beloved sport throughout college.


  • Bella Bigeni will play Division II field hockey at Molloy College.

  • Nicolette Caneda will play Division I soccer at Manhattan College.

  • Paige Jones will play Division III softball at Rhode Island College.

  • Nick Marsella will play Division III baseball at Russell Sage College.

  • Luke Orbon will play Division I baseball at St. John’s University.

  • Stephen Perno will play Division I soccer at Fairfield University.

  • Darla Petricca will play Division III soccer at Mount St. Mary’s College.

  • Maria Poulos will play Division I soccer at Binghamton University.

  • Sofia Quijada will play Division III soccer at Trinity College.


1. How is the college application process different for you?

“The college application was so much easier than I thought. I only had to apply to one school. It caused my parents less stress,” said Nick Marsella.


2. What factors led you to your decision to play at a collegiate level?

“Playing on a highly competitive club team gave me exposure to play against players from across the country. Hard work and dedication are also big factors. I put soccer above almost everything else and make it a priority to focus and always improve,” said Maria Poulos.


3. How are you preparing to play in college as a student-athlete?

“I follow a very strict and tiring schedule which consists of eating right, working out, and training to make myself better in all aspects of the game. I work out seven days a week; I train with my hitting coach four times a week and train on my own the other days,” said Luke Orbon.


4. What is your best/favorite part about being a soccer player?

“Although I love the sport and the culture that is cultivated around soccer, the best thing about it has to be the feeling I get from playing. There is no greater feeling than finishing a good practice or good game and knowing you did good and had fun while doing it. It is such a fulfilling feeling that motivates me to not only continue to become a better player at the next practice or game, but also a better person off the field. It intensifies my love for the game and is something I will never get tired of,” said Sofia Quijada.


5. What aspect of playing collegiate soccer excites you the most?

“I am mainly excited to improve and become a better soccer player. Playing soccer at a collegiate level is going to be a challenge and much different from what I’m used to now, but I’m excited for the challenge and level of play,” said Darla Petricca.


6. What are you most looking forward to at Molloy and how has your experience at NHP influenced your decision to play field hockey in college?

"I’m most looking forward to playing at Molloy and making friendships with my teammates like I did at New Hyde Park. New Hyde Park had a huge influence on my college choice to play at Molloy. My coaches, Ms. Brocking and Ms. McKeough, always pushed me and made me into the player I am today and inspired me to go farther and play in college," said Bella Bigeni.


7. What influenced your decision to play soccer at Fairfield University and who or what is your biggest inspiration?

"Fairfield has always been on my list of schools to go to whether it was to play soccer or not. The location is ideal as I am not too far from home but far enough where I could get a college experience. The soccer team seems like a great group of players who are hungry and eager to win a championship, so I want to surround myself with those players and be apart of something special. My biggest inspiration is my older brother. He played D1 soccer at Penn State University and has guided me throughout my journey of trying to play college soccer. He has trained with me when he could, taught me important things about the game and has given me a work ethic and competitiveness I would not trade for anything. If it was not for him as almost a mentor, I would not be where I am today," said Stephen Perno.


Congratulations Gladiators! NHP wishes you the best of luck as you continue to live out your dreams in college.