In-depth look at Pope John Fall Signing Day 2018

By ANTHONY SPAULDING

Director of Communications

Pope John XXIII Regional High School

anthonyspaulding@popejohn.org


SPARTA — Pope John XXIII Regional High School senior student-athletes JoJo Aragona, Robert Garcia, Julia Herraiz, Emma Myer, Kevin Putsky, Kenna Squier, Camryn Stoner, and Jake Wells have officially each signed a National Letter of Intent as to where they will compete and continue their education following graduation.

Aragona signed his letter of intent to wrestle for Rutgers University; Garcia signed his letter to wrestle for Oregon State University; Herraiz signed her letter of intent to compete in cross country and track and field for Bryant University; Myer signed her letter to compete in cross country and track and field for the University of Virginia; Putsky signed his letter to play baseball for the New Jersey Institute of Technology; Squier signed her letter to play basketball for the New Jersey Institute of Technology; Stoner signed her letter to play lacrosse for Marist College; and Wells signed his letter to play baseball for St. Bonaventure University.

Let’s take a look at why they made their respective decisions and how did Pope John help them on their journey to becoming future NCAA Division I student-athletes.


Jojo Aragona

Wrestling, Rutgers University


Q: Why did you choose Rutgers University?

A: Rutgers is close to home, and I want my family to come watch me wrestle. Rutgers has a great program that is on the rise. The coaches are great and are nice guys. They are down-to-earth people. I also know all of the wrestlers on the team, so it is going to be fun wrestling with a bunch of my friends.


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John has given me a better opportunity to grow as a student, an athlete and as a person. The classes are like college-level courses. The ways they are set up are going to be the same way in college, so it’s going to be an easier transition for me when I get there next year. Wrestling at Pope John gave me a chance to better myself and get noticed by colleges that otherwise would not have seen me if I had stayed at my previous school.


Robert Garcia

Wrestling, Oregon State University


Q: Why did you choose Oregon State University?

A: I love the coaches, the team and the environment out there. It is the best fit for me and I’m excited to go out west!


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John has helped me mature and prepare for college. I am grateful for all of the sacrifices my parents have made to send my brother (Matthew) and I to such a great school. Because of Pope John, I feel I am academically and athletically ready to do great things in college.


Julia Herraiz

Cross Country/Track and Field, Bryant University


Q: Why did you choose Bryant University?

A: I knew when I stepped on its campus that it is where I belong. When I met the coaches and the team, I just felt I fit in so well with them. I’m so excited to be part of that family.


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John teachers challenged me academically and gave me the confidence to push my limits in academics. Also, (Pope John cross country/track and field head coach Brian) Corcoran helped me gain confidence in my running and helped me get to where I am now. He is very supportive and always believes in my ability.


Emma Myer

Cross Country/Track and Field, University of Virginia


Q: Why did you choose the University of Virginia?

A: I love the coaches. The head coach is new, but she is so nice and super competitive — something I am used to with (Pope John cross country/track and field head coach Brian) Corcoran. I love Charlottesville (Va.) and I love all the girls on the team. I’m excited to be with them.


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John has prepared me to be a student-athlete for the next four years because I learned how to manage both my schoolwork and practice/meets throughout the year. I owe how far I have come academically and athletically to Pope John, and I can’t wait to bring the knowledge and fitness I have gained here to UVA!


Kevin Putsky

Baseball, New Jersey Institute of Technology


Q: Why did you choose the New Jersey Institute of Technology?

A: It is close to home and it has a great program. The team plays in one of the toughest conferences (Atlantic Sun Conference) and they travel everywhere. I just can’t wait to be a part of it.



Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: The Pope John community as a whole helped me develop into a hard working student on and off the field. The faculty and students made the atmosphere at Pope John enjoyable and something I’ll always remember. Coach Bello was my coach since I was young and he helped me go to Pope John and made me into the person I’m becoming today. Coming to Pope John was one of the best decisions I’ve made, and the friends and memories will always be with me.



Kenna Squier

Basketball, New Jersey Institute of Technology


Q: Why did you choose the New Jersey Institute of Technology?

A: The team and the coaching staff are great. It is also in a great location near New York City. The basketball facility is brand new and cool. I love everything about the school.


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John has helped me academically because the teachers are always willing to sacrifice their time to make sure that their students are excelling. They will come before school or stay after school as long as you need to make sure that you understand everything. Also, guidance is extremely helpful at Pope John because they are always working to get their students in the best situations possible. They are also extremely helpful in the process of college searching. Athletically, Pope John has amazing coaches who also work to contact schools and to get you into the colleges that you want. All of the Pope John coaches work to make sure their players are good teammates, leaders, and all-around people, which is something you can't find in other schools.


Camryn Stoner

Lacrosse, Marist College


Q: Why did you choose Marist College?

A: I chose Marist because in my sophomore year, when I attended my first recruiting camp, the coaches and players made me feel like it was the perfect fit.  I had such an amazing vibe and knew that’s where I belonged. I fell in love with the campus and the views overlooking the Hudson River. Later when I toured the campus, I fell more in love  with the stone buildings and beautiful surroundings. Academically, Marist offers many of the majors I’m considering pursuing. I wouldn’t want to be going to any other school than Marist.



Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John has helped me tremendously in both academics and athletics. When I first decided to come to Pope John in 2015, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Although I spent numerous hours per night studying, I will forever be grateful Pope John pushed me to my fullest academic potential to be better prepared for college. Athletically, Pope John has taught me to always try my hardest and never give up. During my soccer and lacrosse seasons, my coaches developed me into the player I am now. They taught me how to be a leader on and off the field and to always follow my dreams. Part of my decision to come to Pope John was because of my older brother Davis Stoner, who was a 2014 graduate. Davis urged me to attend Pope John to better my future academically and athletically. He had four successful years as a D-I lacrosse player at Saint Joseph’s University and attributes much of his success to Pope John.



Jake Wells

Baseball, St. Bonaventure University


Q: Why did you choose St. Bonaventure University?

A: St. Bonaventure is a great school. The head coach (Larry Sudbrook) has been there for 30-plus years. He is not leaving and he recruits a great class every year. The team is a great group of guys. I’m very excited to go there!


Q: How did Pope John help you get to where you are today?

A: Pope John helped to get me where I am today in a lot of ways. When you go to a school like this one where there are so many people trying to achieve the same goals as you, it helps a lot. All of the teachers become almost like a best friend to you. They help you with everything if you need it. The academics have helped me get ready for college because it’s almost the same type of classes and the same type of ways college will be. The biggest thing for me though is the athletics. Baseball has helped me grow as an athlete and as a person in so many ways. (Pope John baseball head coach Vin) Bello has been there for me since I was 9, and having him at my side is always something I’ll be thankful for. My teammates are always there for me and they are my second family. They are always there for me. If I had gone anywhere else, I don’t think I would be where I am today.




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