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20 H-F athletes sign to play college sports

Chidera Ozoh dabbled in volleyball as an eighth grader. She didn’t take the sport seriously until her freshman year. 

Chidera Ozoh went from volleyball novice to Division I player
in four years. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

Even when she did begin playing the sport competitively, the Homewood-Flossmoor High School senior admits she wasn’t the best. But she put in the work, took advantage of her natural gifts and signed to play Division I college volleyball at the University of Akron.

“I feel like signing that paper is a sign for younger me and how far she was able to come since that first tryout when I was so nervous. I was like ‘Everybody’s better than me,’” Ozoh said. “Here I am, going to a D1 school. I’m really proud of how far I was able to come.” 

She was one of 20 H-F athletes who were part of a signing ceremony May 2 in the school’s auditorium. 


The turning point for Ozoh was after her sophomore season during a travel tournament at McCormick Place. Things just clicked, and she says that was when she started playing volleyball for real. The nervousness that was always around before then seemed to melt away. 

“There were a lot of tears and frustration (the first couple years). All the girls around me had been doing this since elementary school and I was just starting,” Ozoh said. “You just have to realize that you’re on a team with them for a reason. You shouldn’t doubt yourself. Just do your best.” 

H-F sprinter Angela Alozie will balance a pre-medicine academic
workload with track at UNC Charlotte. (David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

Alozie chooses UNC Charlotte over Big Ten
Angela Alozie knew exactly what she was looking for when she began taking visits to college track programs. Larger schools like Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana weren’t really her cup of tea. She also saw Georgia State, Ball State and Illinois State, but none of those places caught her eye like Charlotte.

“The campus was pretty. I’d never been to North Carolina before so it was a nice experience,” Alozie said. “After Charlotte, I knew that was the school I wanted to go to.”

She’ll major in biology or public health on a pre-medicine track. It was important to her that the school she chose was a good academic fit. She wants to be a sports physician.

The athletic fit wasn’t an afterthought, though. There could be an opportunity for her to run the 400-meter dash immediately with other events coming later. 

“Bigger schools, I would be a little fish in a big pond,” she said. “Going to a smaller D1 school, I feel like was a better fit for me.” 

Viking hoopers head to GSU as a pair

Jahlil Birchette, left, and Vincent Davis will continue their
basketball careers together at Governors State.
(David P. Funk/H-F Chronicle)

The basketball chemistry of Vincent Davis and Jahlil Birchette will continue in college, as both signed with Governors State University. 

“Having him with me is a very special thing,” Davis said. “I want to see him grow on the court and in class.”

The duo hopes to hit the hardwood running. They said they know each other’s spots, tendencies and can communicate on the court well. 

“I’ve known him for so long. I know where he likes to get the ball,” Birchette said. “We can grow together.” 

Birchette will major in cyber security. Davis will study business.

“I feel like this is a lot of relief. We’re finally here. We made it,” Davis said. “We pushed through with good coaches, good teammates, good everything. Now we moving on to the next level hopefully doing bigger and better things.” 

Transfer to H-F pays off for Fulgencio
Jon Fulgencio spent only one year at Homewood-Flossmoor after transferring from St. Rita. He found a spot with the Vikings wrestling squad and earned a scholarship to Lake Erie College. 

“All the work I put in just comes to this moment. I transferred here this year in the hopes of eventually getting to this position,” he said. “Hard work paid off. I have to thank my teammates and coaches, especially coach (Jim Sokoloski).” 

Lake Erie’s campus is 10 minutes from the beach, Fulgencio said. That was a factor in his decision. He’ll major in business administration.

He’ll likely wrestle at 167 pounds for the Storm, which advanced six individuals to the national tournament this season. Fulgencio wrestled at 160 and 170 for H-F.

“My last school, they didn’t really have a big ceremony like this (for signing). They didn’t celebrate it as much,” he said. “It feels good to be in a place where I’m appreciated and accepted.” 

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