Homewood-Flossmoor High School got back to normal in a big way on Nov. 9, holding a college signing ceremony for 13 Vikings athletes in the school’s auditorium.
It’s the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 that the school held the ceremony in such a big way. During the pandemic, college signing ceremonies were limited and held in an athletic classroom.
“Through hard work in athletics and academics, you have been granted the opportunity to pursue your dreams. As we are sad to see our seniors go, we are excited about your future in college athletics,” H-F Athletic Director Matthew Lyke told the group. “As you prepare for the next phase of your life, you will carry your Vikings memories with you forever.”
Latham heads to Syracuse
Girls basketball player Alyssa Latham was one of the highlights, signing to hoop in the ACC with Syracuse.
“This is my opportunity and I took it,” Latham said. “They like my athleticism, my length, my strength and my speed. I’m really big on defense and that’s what they love.”
Syracuse has one of the best architecture undergraduate programs in the nation. That was a key factor for Latham. She took an engineering class at H-F and fell in love with buildings and design.
She said the Syracuse coaching staff, led by Felisha Legette-Jack, were the biggest draw, though. Legette-Jack was hired by the Orange in March.
“I really love coach Jack. She’s awesome. She’s genuine. She’s sweet,” Latham said. “She’s at her alma mater and that’s exciting. I wanted to go somewhere that felt new and fresh. They’re building a dynasty and I want to be part of that.”
Torian heading south to Auburn
Vikings hurdler Ana-Liese Torian was a late addition to the event. She made her commitment to Auburn University on Nov. 8, after the initial announcement.
“(Auburn) fit me very well. They have a new coach coming in and establishing a new program. I felt like I could be a great addition to the program and help them in the future,” Torian said. “The school and everybody there gave me that family vibe.”
The Tigers hired coach Leroy Burrell in June. Hurdles coach Lacena Golding-Clarke is also new and Torian said she was excited to learn from the former Olympian.
“Hopefully, with that kind of training, I can make a big impact on my track career,” she said.
Torian said she was impressed when she visited the Alabama campus in September but didn’t make a decision until very recently. She also considered North Carolina, Illinois and Tennessee.
“The process (of recruiting) was a little overwhelming to me but going on the visits and talking to coaches gives you a whole different picture,” she said. “Now I just have to worry about the track season.”
Schoen to the Ivy League
H-F runner Caroline Schoen will matriculate to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. She signed with Columbia University after announcing her commitment to the Lions on social media Oct. 28.
“It’s exciting to finally have my decision made and a sigh of relief that all the stress and pressure of figuring out where I want to go to school is done,” Schoen said.
Schoen said she clicked with the team there during her visit to the New York City campus. She also gravitated toward schools in bigger cities. She visited Yale and Wisconsin, as well.
She hasn’t decided on a major but is considering something in the realm of digital marketing.
“(I’ll be) in a city with so many opportunities and at a school where I know I can thrive,” she said.
Viking baseball sends seven to the next level
The night was especially big for Homewood-Flossmoor baseball, which saw seven different players sign to play in college.
Outfielder Dillon Head was the headliner, signing with Clemson University. Head is ranked in the top 100 baseball recruits nationally in the class of 2023.
Pitcher Vince Waterman also inked a letter to play Division I at Kent State.
Other Vikings baseball players signing were Carter Green with Wabash Valley College, Joshua Moore with Olive-Harvey Community College, Evan Nieter with McHenry County College, Christopher Webb with Joliet Junior College and Isaiah White with Highland Community College in Kansas.
Robinson signs with NC State
Vincent Robinson signed to wrestle at North Carolina State.
Robinson was the 126-pound runner-up at last year’s state championship. He also won the prestigious Walsh Iron Man tournament.
A pair of volleyball players made their commitments official, as well. Emma Dieringer inked with University of St. Francis while Dyllan Hanna signed with Cornerstone University.