Rarely do you see five student athletes that sign NCAA letters of intent, in one year, from one Division IV high school. Lehman Catholic did it last week, and did it with a twist that you rarely see anymore.
Our ‘Who’s Hot’ recognition this week is unique for the fact that five student athletes from Sidney’s Lehman Catholic High School all signed their letters of intent on the same day, Wednesday, to compete at NCAA schools next year. And unique for the fact that most schools with an enrollment the size of Lehman do not have five such athletes in one graduating class.
Nor do most schools have five athletes with such diversity of talent, and opportunity!
Katie McFarland…(pole vaulter) attending the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), Division I, Southeast Conference
Donovan O’Leary…(football) attending the University of Findlay, Division II, Great Midwest Athletic Conference
Mara O’Leary…(soccer) attending the Franciscan University (Steubenville), Division III, Presidents Athletic Conference
Will Ford and Bronson Libecap…(football) attending Capital University (Columbus), Division III, Ohio Athletic Conference
“The coach at Mississippi began following me on Instagram, I emailed, we set up a visit to Oxford, Mississippi, and I loved it immediately. I committed,” said Katie McFarland, who will be a member of the Rebels’ pole vault team.
“Findlay’s got a great program, great culture, great coaches and great players. They’ve got a couple of players going to the NFL combine this spring. I’m excited for the challenge,” said four-year starter Donovan O’Leary.
“I’m going to Capital to play football, but I’ll be studying Business Management. I’m looking forward to my future more than anything else. I wanted a fall-back plan after football,” added Bronson Libecap, a Cavalier lineman.
“I’m looking forward to getting a great education at Capital, in media and film production. And I’m gonna’ put my name out there in football to put Capital back on the map again,” Will Ford shared, struggling to contain his excitement.
“I’m going to Franciscan because both my parents attended that school, and I’m going to study Biology,” added Mara O’Leary. “Soccer at that level will be a big challenge, but four years of soccer at Lehman has prepared me for that challenge.”
Five very impressive young people with athletic talent and their heads screwed on straight.
“And I’m going to study Engineering at Mississippi,” said Katie McFarland. “I don’t know what kind of Engineering yet, but I was just so impressed with the culture, how friendly people were, and what a beautiful campus it was.”
I’m guessing…Southern Engineering, Katie.
But there was another twist to their signing ceremonies that you don’t see that frequently anymore…that being the entire student body witnessing the event, and applauding appreciatively, and respectfully, the achievements of their fellow students. No cat calls, no disrespect, and no one playing with their cell phone. It spoke volumes for the culture of small school closeness, support, and pride.
Our thanks to Athletic Director Mark Brunswick, who coordinated the event around our availability to be there as witness. Anyone who saw it would have been heartened by the long-repeated adage…that if you bring a child up in a positive environment of expectation and accomplishment, they will not depart from it as adults.
With appreciation of our own, congratulations to Katie McFarland, Mara O’Leary, Donovan O’Leary, Will Ford and Bronson Libecap, this week’s ‘Who’s Hot’ honorees on Press Pros.
The St. Henry Bank joins Press Pros Magazine in recognizing this week’s “Who’s Hot” honorees…Katie McFarland, Mara O’Leary, Donovan O’Leary, Will Ford and Bronson Libecap, from Lehman Catholic High School.