There were 10 reasons to be especially impressed inside Sacred Heart Greenwich’s athletic center Wednesday morning.
The school has provided a wealth of athletic talent to colleges over the years and Wednesday, a ceremony was held honoring 10 of its senior athletes who have committed to playing their respective sport — mostly at the Division I level.
The talented group included four lacrosse players, four rowers, one golfer and one squash athlete.
Amelia Sheehan, Katie Keller, Morgan Smith and Claire Chmiel are Sacred Heart’s four Division I-bound lacrosse athletes.
Emma Caruso, Ashley Giannetti, Paige Pucel and Isabella Rogers will each row at the collegiate level, while Carly Haines (golf) and Erin O’Connor (squash) will compete in college.
Sheehan, a US Lacrosse All-American Team selection her junior year, signed a national letter of intent to play lacrosse at the University of North Carolina.
“I committed during September of my junior year and committing is a huge confidence-booster going into the season,” said Sheehan, who has been a member of a Tigers squad that’s captured the FAA Tournament championship her first three seasons on the team. “I have always wanted to go North Carolina, it’s been a dream of mine since I was little. North Carolina has a high level of academics and athletics and coach Jenny Levy (329 career wins, ranked third in Division I) has built a dynasty. I’ve always wanted to compete for a national championship.”
Last season, Sheehan earned Western New England All-Star and All-FAA Team accolades. She qualified to compete for the Connecticut squad at the US Lacrosse National Tournament. Sheehan served as one of the captains of the Tigers soccer team this past fall, earning All-FAA honors.
“To compete with some of the best players in the country at Sacred Heart is such an honor,” Sheehan said. “Sacred Heart has prepared me so much. We had three DI commits last year, who pushed us so much and there are three other commits in my class and we all work very well together. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Smith will continue her lacrosse career at the University of Pennsylvania. She was also a US Lacrosse Academic All-America selection in 2018, received All-FAA honors and played in the US Lacrosse National Tournament.
“Our lacrosse program has helped me a lot,” said Smith, who also served as one of the school’s varsity field hockey captains in the fall — a team that won its first New England title. “I think that we are paving the way for more athletes to commit to playing in college. I’ll be really proud to represent Sacred Heart throughout college.”
Smith, whose sister Ryan, a 2018 Sacred Heart graduate, plays lacrosse at Boston College, will join a UPenn squad that consistently contends for the Ivy League title.
“The next level should be intimidating, but lacrosse has been a part of my life, so continuing it at the collegiate level will be fun,” said Smith, who is currently one of the school’s basketball captains and will serve as one of the lacrosse captains in the spring “It will be high intensity, high speed, but hopefully, I’ll be ready for it.”
Keller will take her lacrosse skills to Duke University. She, along with Sheehan and Smith will captain the Tigers’ 2020 lacrosse team. This past spring, Keller was a Western New England All-Star and All-FAA selection and she too, competed in the US Lacrosse National Tournament.
“Going to Duke is like a dream come true, I’m so excited,” Keller said. “I am, a little nervous, because it’s a huge commitment, but I am so excited for the next four years. The community at Sacred Heart is so special, it is sad to leave. But I know Duke has just as strong a community.”
Keller also starred on the Tigers’ field hockey team in the fall and is one of the Sacred Heart’s squash captains.
“Playing different sports has made me a better athlete,” Keller said. “It’s been so much fun getting to know girls from different sports in different grades, because our teams have become so close.”
Chmiel, a member of Sacred Heart’s varsity lacrosse team since her freshman year, will play at Villanova.
“I’ve had such an amazing experience playing lacrosse here at Sacred Heart,” Chmiel said. “I’ve grown so much as a player.”
Chmiel said she’s learned plenty from playing at Sacred Heart.
“Our lacrosse program has taught me more than lacrosse skills,” she said. “Mental toughness and sportsmanship is instilled in all our lacrosse players. The growth I’ve had in past years has been immense.’’
Haines will join the golf team at Louisville. She will fill the role as Sacred Heart’s captain in the spring. The 2018 season saw her receive the team’s Honor, Heart, Hustle award and earn All-NEPSAC honors.
She’s played on the varsity golf team since her freshman year.
“I like the competition at Sacred Heart, it has really helped me grow as a player,” Haines said. “Sacred Heart has a really good golf program and we play some of the best schools in the area.”
Haines is a three-time club champion at Wykagyl Country Club and placed third in the Kentucky Women’s Open in 2018. She’s posted numerous top-three finishes in Met PGA events.
“I started playing when I was five and and started competing when I was 13,” Haines said. “I like how golf disconnects me from the world for a few hours and I can focus on one thing to do. I also enjoy the travel and meeting new people.”
O’Connor has competed on Sacred Heart’s squash squad since she was an eighth-grader and is set to play at the University of Virginia. She’s the captain of the Tigers 2019-2020 team and was the squad’s MVP last winter, when she placed third in her bracket at the NEPSAC Championships.
“This is my fifth year on the team and it’s been great to see the program grow,” O’Connor said. “We have a tight-knit team and we have gotten a lot more interest from people, especially since we have our own squash facility. I’m looking forward to playing at Virginia, it’s an up-and-coming program and a lot of kids I know in this area are playing on the squash team and attending the school.”
Caruso will row at Williams College (Division III) . When she was a sophomore, she joined the Connecticut Boat Club team.
“Over the years Connecticut Boat Club has been like my second home,” Caruso said. “I love the club and all the girls there are so nice. It’s a very competitive club, so it’s fun to go there and work hard. I’m looking forward to college and doing the sport I love the most.”
Giannetti is going to row at Brown. She competes at Row America in Rye, N.Y. She was in the stroke seat in the team’s Women’s Youth Eight boat at the 2019 Head of the Charles that placed first in the Women’s Youth Eight race during the fall.
As a junior, Giannetti was part of a Women’s Youth Varsity Four boat that placed first in the 2018 Head of the Charles Regatta. Her Row America boat was second in the Women’s Youth Varsity Four race at the 2019 US Rowing Youth Championships. During her sophomore year, Giannetti was part of a crew that placed first at the 2017 Head of the Charles Regatta in the Women’s Youth Varsity Four event.
“Rowing has had a major impact on my life,” Giannetti said. “It’s taught me I can do anything I put my mind to and it has given me a community that has my back no matter what. It’s a big commitment and a tough sport, so on the days when I am really tired, my teammates inspire me.”
Pucel will take her rowing skills to Indiana University. Racing in the Northeast Regional Championships, she was part of a boat that placed first this year.
“I started in eighth grade, I just wanted to try it out,” said Pucel, who rows at Connecticut Boating Club. “Once I tried it, I couldn’t stop talking about it and have played it all year ever since. I can’t wait to start a new chapter.”
Rogers, the MVP of Sacred Heart’s rowing team in the fall, will row at Notre Dame.
“I like having my friends in school being on the team with me, because they helped me with the recruiting process when it got hard and when I hit a plateau athletically, they helped lift me up,” Rogers said. “I love how the catholic values are paired up with the intense academics at Notre Dame, which is what I really want.”