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SHS Athletics Signing Day - Fall 2021

Communications Office

With a few strokes of their pens, nine of Stevenson's top athletes took the next step in their athletic careers on Wednesday after school in the Wood Commons by signing their National Letters of Intent, which is a binding commitment they are making to their selected institutions to play collegiate sports next school year.

The group of signees included: Ava Bardic (basketball) - U of Illinois, Springfield, Amanda Holsen (volleyball) - Columbia, Mark Hellwig (track & field) - Penn, Nora Kowalski (diving) - Miami Ohio, Katie Makarska (swimming) - Carnegie Mellon, Ella O’Neall (track & field) - Iowa State, Simone Sawyer (basketball) - Penn, Shreeya Sinha (diving) - Massachusetts, Jack White (diving)- Northwestern. For a video presentation with more pictures of signing day, please click here.

"What makes this group unique is not only do we have great female representation, we also have some sports that might not typically be seen signing at this time of the school year (early)," said Stevenson athletic director Trish Betthauser, whose department organized the after-school celebration attended by fellow students, faculty and staff and parents. "For instance to have three divers signing on the same day is incredibly impressive. It shows how far our program has come. I think back six or seven years ago, and we were struggling to get divers to come out for the team. To have three divers moving on to the next level says a lot about our program.

"And then to have our two track and field athletes who had shortened seasons last year, they showed what high-level athletes they are," Betthauser continued. "Our swimmer, Katie, she's also got a big weekend coming up (at the state meet), Amanda (Holsen) had a record-breaking season this year, and then Ava and Simone are part of a very special girls basketball team."

Speaking of Ava Bardic and Simone Sawyer, it seemed particularly fitting that they signed their letters of intent on the same day, and on the same stage. Good friends for years, the two teammates have been playing basketball together since sixth grade. They made the varsity team at Stevenson together as freshmen, and have been starters since then as well.

"You saw it coming with those two, they were so talented even as young girls," said girls basketball coach Ashley Graham, who introduced Bardic and Sawyer, as did all of the coaches with their respective athletes. "They are such good friends and they've put their whole lives into this game. This is just so special, special to see them reaching such a big goal in life together."

Betthauser says that signing day is always extremely special for her and the rest of her staff in the athletic department, who watch Stevenson's athletes literally grow up before their eyes.

"It's kind of like being a Mama Bear. I think I feel the same kind of emotions the coaches do, going through all the highs and the lows with our athletes and seeing them grow," Betthauser said. "It's also exciting to see the work our coaches put in with them and to see all of the connections and relationships that develop over the years as these athletes work towards their goals. This is a big day for our athletes and it's great to be able to share this with them."