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Student-athletes at University and Morgantown put pen to paper for college plans

MORGANTOWN — Wednesday marked a special moment for nine student-athletes from both University and Morgantown High Schools as they signed their letter of intent to compete athletically at the collegiate level.

Seven Hawks and two Mohigans became the latest signees for their respective schools Wednesday morning. 

On Baker’s Ridge at UHS, five baseball players (Mason McDonald, Mason Chaney, Brodee Latocha, Riley Anderson, and Levi Boyd), one wrestler (Cynthia Pyatt), and a thrower from the track and field team (Gabrielle Chico) inked their names to continue their athletic and academic careers at the next level.

Across town in South Park, two defending state champions etched their signatures for MHS in girls’ soccer player Emily Carpenter, and boys’ lacrosse member Johnathan DeBastiani.

Signees Mason McDonald and Riley Anderson will require a bit of travel as McDonald will head to USC-Lancaster in South Carolina while Anderson heads to Nebraska to attend Southeast Community College.

Anderson lauded the geography program at SECC, and said that along with the opportunity to play baseball, he is excited for the chance to study what he is most interested in. As for McDonald, he wanted to get down south where he can play outdoors 365 days a year.

“I’ve been playing down south my entire life and I love being there and playing in the warm weather,” he said. “That was a big part of my decision. I found USC-Lancaster and it was a great fit when I went on my visit.”

Levi Boyd, who says playing baseball in college has always been a goal of his, will also cross state lines to continue his playing career, but won’t be too far away, as he will attend Waynesburg University.

Two other UHS baseball players, Mason Chaney and Brodee Latocha, will continue playing as teammates at West Liberty University in Wheeling. Latocha played a role in the 2023 state tournament appearance for the Hawks and had a good summer with Morgantown Post 2. Both he and Chaney agreed that the campus and surrounding area of West Liberty both stood out to them scenically and that they felt the connection right away.

“I loved the campus and the coaching staff have all been great to work with already,” Latocha said. “The facilities are also a big plus and it feels great to get to this point.”

For back-to-back defending state champion Emily Carpenter, who will attend Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, her decision came down to the smaller size of the campus and the ability to grow herself spiritually.

“This is going to be an exciting experience and life-changing for me,” she said. “Emotionally, physically, mentally. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to attend Asbury because of the smaller size and how the school supports everyone athletically and academically.”

Fellow state champion Jonathan DeBastiani will play lacrosse for Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., and says being able to play lacrosse in college after only beginning to play his freshman year of high school is something he is grateful for.

“Starting my freshman year to going to playing in college is special to me,” he said.”I have my coaches and teammates to thank and I love the game and can’t wait to get started at the next level.”

Despite signing to wrestle at West Liberty, Pyatt first hit the mat just one year ago.

“Bailey Emery, my best friend, got me into wrestling last year and I picked it up quickly,” she said. “It’s big for me because I feel like (women’s wrestling is) a growing sport and being a part of the change is something I am hopeful to be a part of and proud to be involved in.”

Chico signed with the Waynesburg track and field team.

“I throw shotput and discus here but I’m excited to try some new events at Waynesburg like javelin and hammer throw that aren’t offered in West Virginia,” Chico said. “It’ll be a challenge, but I like doing things the unconventional way.”

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