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Dragons are ferocious on field, in class



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High school athletes signed Letters of Intent, April 28. Photo by Megan Collier (click for larger version)
May 05, 2010 - Ten Dragon athletes "made it official" April 28 at 1:45 p.m. when they signed Letters of Intent, committing themselves to collegiate sports.

The signing marked special milestones for several programs, with first-ever players signing onto scholarships.

Both lacrosse programs sent off their first athletes.

Jodie Parker, varsity girls' lacrosse player, signed with Grand Valley State University. Parker holds the program's record for scoring.

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"We're a young program," said her coach, Bill Booth. "This is our third year. And we're really excited and really proud that Jodie will be the first scholarship lacrosse player from the girls' program. We've known Jodie since we started the program and she's a remarkable student leader. Academically, she's an excellent student. She's a terrific athlete."

The boys' lacrosse also sent off their first player, Derek Coe. He will play lacrosse for Hanover College in Indiana.

"This is a bittersweet moment for me," said Coach Nik Banda. "We've had kids go on and play lacrosse but we've never had a scholarship athlete and it's a special moment. This is the hardest-working athlete I've ever met in my life, and he's had the worst run of luck that I've ever seen. He had his hip basically replaced and he didn't sit out the year,. The Hanover coach chose Derek without haven't even seeing him at full strength for two years."

Melissa Vernon, a varsity wrestler will leave LOHS with the first athletic scholarship awarded to a Lady Dragon. She's received offers from several universities and colleges and is still investigating those prospects.

Volleyball player Allegra Recknagel signed with Macomb Community College.

Recknagel wass a third-year varsity player, and second-year captain. She was all-league and an all-region nominee, leading the team with 586 assists to help to set a school record for assists of 1,049 last season.

"She's a great student athlete, a dedicated hard worker, very competitive and athletic, and very coachable and fun to be around," said Coach Bob Howey

Meryl Cunningham, another varsity volleyball player, will head to Rochester College.

She is a second-year varsity player.

"Unfortunately she had a knee injury that cut her season short, so we don't have stats for us on the year, but she was a great team-supporting player, even during her injury. She was a dedicated hard-worker, very competitive and very coachable," said Howey.

Track and cheerleading star Chiara Allen signed with Western Michigan University to run track in Kalamazoo.

Allen is a four-year, 12-varsity-letter winner in competitive cheer, sideline cheer and track and field. She's an all-state cheerleader and hurdler, and last year was third in the high hurdles in state finals. She also runs relays and 300 lows.

Her cheer coach, Nancy DeAvila, said, "She's an amazing athlete, an amazing kid."

Lady Cagers and Alexis Haan will both play basketball for University of Michigan, Dearborn

"Both girls have had great success here at Lake Orion High School," said their coach, Steve Roberts.

Haan was a three-year starter on varsity, and a two-year, all-conference player. Hood was all-conference this year and a second-year varsity player. Both girls were members of the district championship teams, their junior and senior year, and went to the regionals, quarter finals and semifinals last year, as juniors.

"Both are outstanding students and athletes, with outstanding grade point averages. They've represented Lake Orion High School and the Lake Orion community well," Roberts said.

Varsity basketball player Ian Monk will head to Saginaw Valley State University this fall.

Head Coach Mike Shafkalis said "Ian's a perfect example of what dedication and hard work actually accomplish. He set goals and worked hard, preseason."

He added, "Ian could literally change the momentum with his three-point shot-blocking ability. He's one of my leaders and he helped my process along and made things easier. He's also a great student and a great person. Our loss is going to be Saginaw Valley's gain. He's going to be a great addition to their program."

Nicole Kudla, a varsity swimmer, signed with Wayne State University

She was heavily recruited by other universities and made her choice just recently, according to Coach Darin Abbasse.

Kudla is a four-year scholars athlete both for LOHS and the OAA. She also is a four-year varsity letter recipient, county qualifier and placer, and a four-year qualifier in the high school state championships.

"This year, she had a break-out season, being in the top 12 in her events," said Abbasse.

She's also a member of two varsity-record-holder teams in swimming relays.

"Not only is she a great athlete and great student, but she's a great individual. She is captain this year and led her team proudly, and did a great job in all the of areas we expect out of a leader," her coach said.

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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