Avon Lake signing

Avon Lake's Nick Marsh, left, Will Moses and Emma Okuma prepare to sign their National Letters of Intent on Feb. 5 at Avon Lake High School. Marsh committed to Colgate University to play football, Moses committed to Gannon University for swimming and Okuma committed to Ashland University for swimming. 

Winter’s National Letter of Intent Signing Day on Feb. 5 saw three Avon Lake athletes officially declare their new homes for the next four years.

Nick Marsh (football) and Will Moses and Emma Okuma (Swimming/Diving) committed to Colgate University, Gannon University and Ashland University, respectively. Avon Lake’s athletic director Brent Shremp, principal Melissa Issac-Johns, swimming coach Daniel Smith, football coach Matt Kostelnik and district superintendent Bob Scott were in attendance and spoke about the three athletes.

“These signings are a culmination of working hard in the classroom and countless hours of hard work and dedication in their respective sports,” Shremp said. “Today’s a day that all these athletes and their families will remember forever.”

Marsh, who was apart of the Shoremen’s regional runner-up football team and is currently a member of Avon Lake’s basketball team, said Colgate stood out to him from other interested schools including Columbia, Butler, Dusquene and Patriot League and Mid-American Conference schools.

“(This process) is stressful, but rewarding,” Marsh said. “I was talking to some of the bigger schools at the beginning and I thought Colgate was just a great fit at the end athletically and academically. It’s been awesome (at Avon Lake) the past four years. Coach Kostelnik is not only a great coach, he’s a great motivator. I can’t stress enough how important going to a school like Avon Lake is for athletics and academics.”

Okuma played a pivotal role in helping the Shoregals swim team repeat as champions at the Southwestern Conference meet in January. The four-year varsity swimmer had narrowed her choices to Ashland, Penn State Behrend and Mount Union and, though she was hesitant to make a choice, she knew Ashland was where she belonged.

“The whole process, in general, was very stressful for me in the beginning,” Okuma said. “When I went to Ashland, I actually got to go into one of the simulation labs in the nursing area and I was behind the screen and I was watching other students perform a sim-lab. That was over the top for me, it was so awesome. Everyone there was so nice and so welcoming and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”

Moses had successful showings at the conference championship in the 200-yard IM, 100-yard freestyle and as part of the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay teams. Though the Shoremen couldn’t overcome the Amherst Comets, they still finished second.

Moses, another four-year varsity swimmer, said he was considering other schools such as Ball State University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Nova University in Florida.

“The most important thing to me was which school had the best (criminal justice) program,” Moses said. “I’d heard from some friends about Gannon’s criminal justice program so I decided to do a visit with the swim team. Based on the atmosphere and how helpful the professors were, I knew it was the right school for me.”

Contact this reporter at jkopanski@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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