The battle to land Maddie Burke’s talents on the basketball court began early.
The Central Bucks West senior received her first offer from Seton Hall the summer before she entered ninth grade. Making Burke such a coveted recruit was a textbook jump shot that few players possess.
“They should paint a picture of it and send it to every youth girls basketball player and say, ‘This is what you’re looking for,’” Central Bucks West coach Zach Sibel said. “Her form is incredible. It’s a shot you see in the NBA.”
Burke recently signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Penn State University, one of four top recruits landed by first-year coach Carolyn Kieger.
“She’s one of the best shooters in the country, but she does way more than that,” Kieger said in a video she tweeted on NLI signing day. “She’s got great basketball IQ, great vision. She’s going to stretch the floor for us. She works hard every minute she’s on the floor.”
Penn State was a late entry in the recruiting battle for Burke, who received interest from the nation’s top programs and narrowed her final list down to Maryland, Boston College, Villanova and Florida. It was Kieger who helped tip the scales in Penn State’s favor.
“As soon as I stepped on campus and met the new coaches, I just felt it was the right place for me,” Burke said. “I talked to a lot of coaches, I looked at a lot programs at different places. I changed my mind a billion times, but I felt at home at Penn State. I felt it was the right place for me.”
Burke was one of eight CB West seniors recognized for committing to play collegiate sports. Bailey Moyer – a key member of West’s memorable postseason run to the PIAA 4A state title game – has committed to continue his soccer career at Bloomsburg University.
“My whole life I’ve been playing soccer,” Moyer said. “My dad played Division I, my brother played Division III, my grandfather played at East Stroudsburg.
“I was always going to be playing college soccer. It was always a dream of mine.”
Moyer also considered East Stroudsburg, but in the end, Bloomsburg felt like a better fit.
“It was pretty much the same between the two – the (soccer) teams and everything like that,” Moyer said. “It just came down to the school itself, where I saw myself fitting better in the campus. I just liked Bloomsburg better.”
Nick Hano will continue his golf career at the Division I level at Rider University.
“I really wasn’t a D-I player until the summer going into my senior year,” he said. “I had a back injury last year, and I didn’t know when my next competitive round would be.
“When I found out I was able to play last spring, I just wanted to win as many tournaments as I could. That was all that was important to me, and that’s how I got here.”
In addition to Rider, Hano also considered Monmouth, Eckerd College, Lehigh and La Salle.
“Rider’s local,” Hano said. “My family is very important to me, and that’s one of the reasons.
“They also have a winning program, and I’m all about winning. I know how hard it is to win. Recently, especially, they’ve been very successful.”
Gene McGough and Danny Miller will continue their baseball careers at the collegiate level. McGough chose Radford University from a final list that included La Salle, George Washington and the University of Pennsylvania.
“My decision to go to Radford was mostly baseball,” McGough said. “There’s a lot of potential for growth there. I’ll have a role, and it’s really good baseball. It’s in the South, so it’s also warmer.”
McGough admits that playing collegiate baseball never crossed his mind when he was younger.
“I always thought baseball was one of those things that would disappear after high school, but little did I realize – there’s opportunity and there’s stages to keep going,” McGough said. “I never had one school in mind. When the time came and I started throwing hard and I started developing, schools came, and it was one of those things – it just developed.”
Miller has committed to play baseball at Clarion University. He also considered Penn State-Harrisburg, Susquehanna and Gettysburg.
“I just really liked Clarion’s business program, which is something I did want to pursue,” Miller said. “It was a beautiful campus, I loved the area, and I really liked the coach.
“I played basketball and baseball. It came down to just what I could see myself going further in and what I would like more as I went to college. I feel like that would be baseball.”
Grace Miller will continue her soccer career at Cairn University, choosing Cairn from a final list that included Eastern and Millersville.
“When I went to Cairn for the campus open house, I had lunch with the soccer team and I loved them,” she said.
Miller’s recruiting process began when her club team played in showcases.
“People started reaching out to me, so it was kind of just a natural progression,” Miller said.
Max Dunar and Thomas Kelly have committed to play collegiate lacrosse. Dunar chose Gwynedd Mercy University from a final list that also included Manhattan, Wagner and Ursinus.
“After talking to Gwynedd Mercy, going on campus and seeing their nursing program, the different simulation labs, I just realized it was a good environment to be in,” said Dunar, a first team all-league goalie last spring.
The recruiting process for Dunar, who has always wanted to play collegiate lacrosse, began the summer after his junior season.
Kelly chose Arcadia from a final list that included Alvernia and Ohio Wesleyan.
“Arcadia has a really good international business program, and they’re great for studying abroad,” said Kelly. “Because of the clubs I’ve played for and the coaches I’ve had, I’ve always had (playing in college) a consideration since a young age.”