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coaches and kids

NHS Student Athletes Participate in Signing Day

by Allyssa Bovasso Pignataro, Dilara Kalebek, Yuna Mehdizadeh, Alyssa Ostrowski, Abigail Scheidel, 

On Wednesday, February 12, 2020 ten Nutley High School student athletes participated in the Athletic Department’s signing day. These athletes have committed to play sports at the collegiate level next year at various colleges and universities throughout the country. It was a very exciting day. 


Many of the athletes had friends and family attend the event and the room buzzed with excitement and quiet whispers as the athletes took their photos. The parents of Trevor Santos were no exception to buzz, as they stood with smiles on their faces they began to talk about Santos’ accomplishment. “Yes, we anticipated it, but we’re still so excited and proud,” his parents said.  Santos has been accepted into Manhattan University to play baseball. As he talked about the honor he began to explain what it really meant to him. “I feel that going to college is going to better me academically and physically. I feel like I’m in a really good spot right now,” said Santos. 


Being a part of Signing Day allowed for these seniors to get a good glimpse at what their college experience would be like, and possibly the things to come after. The ten students were surrounded by their proud parents as they signed. Muhlenberg-bound, Abby Scheidel, has been playing basketball since she was in third grade and her parents have cheered her and her team on since then. Her mom says, “we are so proud and admire her dedication to the sport and are looking forward to being there for her while she is playing in college.” Abby’s parents were very happy to be there with her the day that she signed. Mrs. Scheidel continued, “the parents, students, and staff were all excited the entire time. Every coach was there for their players to take pictures and to be part of the moment was very special.” 


The athletes and sports varied and included baseball, basketball, softball, crew, wrestling, lacrosse and soccer. Excitement filled the room for all the athletes, coaches, and families as the students committed to colleges that would continue their career with their sport. Samantha Gabriele, who is a soccer commit for Montclair State University, said that she wanted to go to a school based on good academics, but also one where soccer doesn’t have to end right after high school for her. The decision was made when Gabriele signed to Montclair State. “It’s relieving for it to be at this point now because recruitment is a long process and it’s just overwhelming and it’s good to finally have made a decision,” Gabriele said.


Lacrosse commits Dominic Contella and Johnny Matrona showed a lot of excitement after signing to their schools. Contella will be attending Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and Matrona will be attending Piedmont College in Georgia. “I feel great. This is the best decision I have made in my life and I’m happy about it,” Contella said. Contella did everything he could have done to be noticed by colleges and in the end, it clearly paid off. “I believe in my ability,” stated Contella. 


Both lacrosse players were given offers by other schools. Contella was contacted by Moravian College as well, but liked how the coach from Susquehanna kept in touch with him more and was able to make a connection. Matrona was also contacted by Moravian and  Susquehanna, but chose Piedmont. “I visited Piedmont and I just loved it there. I felt like there was a great culture around the team and I felt more accepted and wanted there,” says Matrona. 


Both boys have played other sports throughout their lives, but lacrosse was something that they loved more than any other sport and always put their all into it. “My biggest inspiration has definitely been my parents. They have shown me how to work hard, be determined, and have a positive attitude. They always told me to compete and have fun with everything that I did,” says Matrona. 


Aislinn Scarpelli is part of the Crew team here in NHS. Recently, she got accepted into Rutgers University on an athletic scholarship. However, it wasn’t easy.  She contacted colleges, and exchanged emails with them periodically. This solidified her place in their college Crew team. “I was proud to know that my achievements were identified,” Scarpelli said.  She had grown up around the Nutley boat house, basically being raised by rowers. She found out about her acceptance over the summer. “I just tried to make myself proud of myself,” Scarpelli said. 


Signing Day is held several times per year and is organized by Athletic Director, Mr. Joe Piro and Athletic Secretary, Javanna Ritacco. “It was a proud moment for me and the Athletic Department,” said Mr. Piro.  I am happy for our student athletes and their families and I wish them nothing but great success as they move on to the next level.”



From left to right top row = Dominic Contella – Susquehanna – Lacrosse,  John Matrona – Piedmont – Lacrosse, Kevin Hogan – Felician University – Baseball, Peter Haverick – Davis & Elkins – Wrestling, Trevor Santos – Manhattan University – Baseball

Middle = Samantha Gabriele – Montclair State University – Soccer

From left to right bottom row = Aislinn Scarpelli – Rutgers – Crew/Rowing, Jamell Quiles – Bloomfield College – Softball, Abigail Scheidel – Muhlenberg – Basketball, Isabella Fogle – Muhlenberg – Softball