Notre Dame Academy held a signing celebration of six seniors who will play college sports in front of the entire school followed by a pep rally.

Meghan Miller will commit to play softball for Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. “I started playing softball when I was eight years old,” she said. “I remember it felt so natural for me and I loved it from the beginning.” Miss Miller admits that her father, Michael Miller, is her athletic inspiration. “My dad gives me inspiration to be a better player, as well as my entire family, because they have all either played baseball or softball.”

Miss Miller credits her sport and the discipline of the game for teaching her life lessons every day; helping her grow as a person and athlete. She also stated that her biggest challenge is being able to master the mental game. “I want to continue playing in college because this sport has been such a big part of my life. I’m not ready for it to be over,” Miss Miller said. “I love the game!”

She volunteers as a CYO referee and for NDA Summer Camps. At NDA she is in the Pep Club, S.E.A.L. Team, Mr. NDA Core Team, and Varsity Softball. Miss Miller’s athletic awards include: TRAC Honorable Mention, TRAC First Team, District Honorable Mention, and Team MVP.

Hannah Rubel will play softball at Ohio Northern University. “I started playing when I was 3 years old,” said Miss Rubel. “My parents initially encouraged me to play softball when I was younger, but at that time I was more interested in picking flowers in the outfield!”

“I want to continue in college because I do not want this to be the end for me,” she said. “I love playing the game more than anything else. I want to continue to do what I love.” She admits she will miss her softball family at NDA. “I will miss playing with my friends who have become my family,” she said. “I will miss everything about NDA softball; especially my coaches and my teammates… I will really miss my teammates.”

Miss Rubel volunteers at her church and grade school, is a CYO referee, and helps coach CYO volleyball and basketball. At NDA she is a member of the LINK Crew, a Eucharistic Minister, Euchre Club, Pep Club, S.E.A.L. Team, Mr. NDA Core Team, and Varsity Softball. Miss Rubel is also an Honors and AP student. Athletic achievements include TRAC Honorable Mention, TRAC First Team, District Honorable Mention, Team MVP, and NDA Team Captain.

Justice Wingate will commit to play volleyball at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. Playing volleyball since the fifth grade, Miss Wingate remembers always wanting to do her best when playing. “I have always been passionate about practices, workouts, and games,” she said. “I truly cannot imagine my life without volleyball. That is why I am so honored to be able to keep playing the sport I love for Rockhurst University.”

Miss Wingate takes AP Science and English classes and is in NDA Student Council, Building Bridges Club, French Club, Varsity Volleyball, and Pep Club. Her athletic honors include: Honorable Mention All-Ohio, District All-Star Team, TRAC Second Team, District Second Team, 2016 Most Improved Player, and NDA Team Captain.

Jordan Diggins will commit to play softball for Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has been playing softball since the 5th grade and she remembers feeling like she was able to pick up the skills of softball easier than other sports she tried.

“I always loved playing softball and competing as a team. I feel it came naturally to me,” she said. “The biggest challenge is not letting your failures or mistakes get in your head. You cannot carry it into the next inning. This is where you have to help yourself and your teammates and stay strong in the mental game.”

Traveling to new fields and experiencing a higher level of competition, is what Miss Diggins is looking forward to most while playing for Concordia. “I am ready for the next challenge, although I will miss my teammates, coaches, and my family being able to attend all of my games,” Miss Diggins explained.

Miss Diggins volunteers for Horizon Science Academy and is a member of the NDA African American Club, Pep Club, French Club, Varsity Softball, and volunteers at NDA Summer Camps. She is an Honors Math II and III student and athletically Miss Diggins has had the following athletic accomplishments: NDA Season MVP, Athlete of the Week, TRAC Second Team, and All-District.

Ariel Cummings will commit to play basketball for The University of Toledo. Miss Cummings credits her brother for sparking her interest in basketball. “My brother, Ellis, was a great basketball player, so I decided to play as well!” Miss Cummings explained. “Now, I think about basketball all the time. I can’t imagine playing any other sport. When I wake up, the first thing I think about is basketball.”

She admits that she loves the team bonding in basketball. “We are friends; not just on the court, but we support each other off the court as well,” she said. Admittedly, she will miss her NDA teammates and coaches but Miss Cummings is ready to be a Lady Rocket. “I am most looking forward to playing with, and against, collegiate players that I know and have admired for so long!” she exclaimed.  Last season, Miss Cummings scored 28 points in the State Semifinal game which advanced the Eagles to the State Final where they finished as Runner-ups.

Cassi Calamunci will commit to play volleyball at John Carroll University. Playing volleyball since the 5th grade, Miss Calamunci explained that her interest in the sport began from watching Olympic Beach volleyball games and American professional beach volleyball player, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and Olympic bronze medalist, Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings. “My interest and love of volleyball came from watching Olympic beach volleyball and Kerri is such an inspiration to me as an athlete,” she said.

Like the other NDA athletes, Miss Calamunci can’t imagine her life without volleyball. “I will miss my NDA team and coaches so much, but I am looking forward to meeting and playing with a new team that is as devoted to the sport as I am!” Miss Calmunci fills her time off the court by volunteering for the Toledo Metro Parks as a camp counselor. She is an Honors and AP student at NDA. Her list of athletic accomplishments and awards are: District All-Star Team, TRAC First Team, TRAC Second Team, District Honorable Mention, TRAC All-Academic Team, NDA Athlete of the Week, Varsity Captain, named All-Tournament Team at Sports Performance National Tournament, earned bid and competed at USAV Beach Nationals and earned bid and competed at AAU Beach Nationals.

When asked why these athletes wanted to continue playing their sport at the collegiate level all five responded that they were not ready to stop playing the sport they love. They all said they would truly miss their NDA teammates and coaches, but all are ready for the next level of competition and the commitment, determination, and strength college athletics demands.