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Pennridge seniors ink letters


The trophies lining the stage at Pennridge High School’s fall college signing day were impressive, a tribute to the seniors who were recognized for signing letters of intent.

Maddie Anderson (St. Joseph’s), Rachel Dudek (East Stroudsburg), Chance Hendricks (Marist), Meghan Kriney (Florida Southern) and Lauren McIntyre (Bloomsburg) leave behind a legacy of excellence on the soccer field that will be difficult to match.

During their four years at Pennridge, the Rams won four consecutive SOL Continental Conference titles. They captured the 2019 District One 4A title this fall and were the district runner-up in 2016. This fall, the Rams advanced to the PIAA 4A state semifinals on the heels of last year’s state runner-up finish and the team’s 2016 trip to the state quarterfinals.

In addition to the five soccer players, Erin Shema was recognized for signing a letter of intent to continue her swimming career at the University of Cincinnati while Ray Knight was recognized for committing to play baseball at Misericordia.

Anderson, who will major in health science, chose St. Joe’s from a final list that included Delaware, Winthrop, Temple, VCU and Drexel.

“St. Joe’s was actually the last school I visited before committing,” Anderson said. “I walked onto the campus with a couple of players, and I knew – this is where I want to go.”

The all-state midfielder, the daughter of coach Audrey Anderson, always aspired to play collegiate soccer.

“I started training with my mom, but I never really thought I would be able to play D-I soccer,” Anderson said. “I think just going with my mom every time she was training someone – I would hop in on the training, just get a couple of extra touches. My mom taught me so much. I don’t think I’d be playing D-I soccer if it wasn’t for her.”

Dudek will major in exercise science and kinesiology at East Stroudsburg. She also considered West Chester, Bloomsburg, Kutztown and Nova Southeastern.

“I went up there for an ID clinic, and when I walked on campus, it just felt like home,” Dudek said. “I ended up lucking out with the major I wanted – they are really good for exercise science.

“I actually didn’t like soccer when I was a kid, but my parents forced me to play. As I got older, I wanted to keep getting better. I ended up really enjoying it, and it worked out really well.”

Hendricks, who plans to pursue a career in the dental field, also was considering Bucknell and Lafayette and admits Marist was a surprise late entry.

“I wasn’t really interested in Marist until they contacted me early in the early fall,” the first team All-SOL Continental midfielder said. “I went up for a visit, and I saw the beautiful campus. I met the team, and I felt like I fit in.

“The coaches were amazing, the school has great academics, and I felt right at home. I couldn’t think of another place where I’d want to go to school and play soccer for the next four years.”

Hendricks has had a passion for soccer since a young age.

“When I was little, everyone is like, ‘I want to be a professional soccer player,’” she said. “As I got older, I started to become realistic.

“In middle school, I started playing at the ECNL level. That pushed me forward to play at the Division I level. I’ve had great guidance through my years of soccer.”

Kriney’s final list included Dartmouth and Millersville, but she chose Florida Southern for the opportunities to excel athletically and academically.

“The campus was absolutely a place I loved and could see myself in the future, and just the atmosphere of the school – it was insane,” Kriney said.

Kriney earned first team all-league honors in goal for the Rams.

“I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level and just continue getting better and better,” Kriney said. “I wanted to continue the process and go as far as I could at the best school I could possibly go to.”

McIntyre, who plans to major in nursing, also considered Delaware as well as other PSAC schools.

“The first time I visited Bloomsburg, it just reminded me of home, and I felt like I belonged there,” McIntyre said. “It was a really great environment and atmosphere. I loved the team, and the coaches were really nice. That was obviously a big plus, and their nursing program is really good.”

Playing collegiate soccer has been a goal since middle school.

“When I got to high school, I just loved the intensity, and I knew I wanted to play in college,” McIntyre said.

Shema is an elite swimmer who chose Cincinnati from a final list that included Northeastern, Drexel and George Washington.

“I chose Cincinnati because it had the prefect balance of academics and athletics I was looking for,” said Shema, who will major in pre-physical therapy. “When I visited there, it felt like home.

“As an athlete, your teammates are your family. You practically spend every second with them. The other people on the team, as well as the coaches, were so welcoming.”

Shema, who swims with Suburban Seahawks Club, has overcome some obstacles along the way.

“One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Erin is her ability to work through challenges,” Seahawks coach Charlie Kennedy said. “It would have been easy to throw in the towel because she’s had to work through some injuries with her shoulders.

“She’s always looking for ways to try and improve herself. In race situations, she really is a competitor. When she gets on the block, it’s all or nothing. When she came to us, her best events had been the backstroke and butterfly. What’s happened is she’s been working on all four strokes, and the stroke that was probably her weakest – the breaststroke – she got an NCSA Junior National cut last year. We’ll miss having her around and her work ethic.”

Knight – who also considered West Chester, DeSales and Delaware – will major in business at Misericorida.

“I went for an overnight, and I stayed with the players and did their schedule,” Knight said. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I liked the guys and the way the program was run. Overall, it was a good fit for me and my family.

“I always wanted to play college baseball ever since I was a little kid. I never knew where or how it would happen, but I always loved it from the beginning.”

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