Seven Red Raiders signal college direction with celebratory signing day

PALMYRA — They’re ready for the next chapter, but not quite ready to close the book on high school sports.

Seven student-athletes at Palmyra-Macedon publicly marked the directions college athletics will take them following graduation later this spring, but six of them are lacrosse players who still have their senior seasons to play for the Red Raiders. 

Family, friends and faculty gathered in lower cafeteria at Palmyra-Macedon High on Monday to celebrate the milestone. Athletic Director Tom Schmandt introduced each, along with their college plans: Bailey Boesel (Alderson Broaddus), Nicole Baker (Gannon University), Nathan Arnold (University of Richmond), Anna Leva (Edinboro University), Sophia Leva (Marquette University), Aldyn Savage (Binghamton University) and Cierra Scheik (Niagara University). 

In a unique twist, Boesel is heading to Philippi, West Virginia, to play Division II lacrosse not only for the Battlers of Alderson Broaddus, but to play for her sister. The team is coached by Angelique Rudy, a 2010 graduate of Pal-Mac who is in her first season as head coach of the team.

Boesel said the previous coaching staff was recruiting her, and when Rudy was named coach in June of last year, it made the decision even easier.

“If anything, she’ll be tougher on me because she doesn’t want to show any favoritism,” said Boesel, the daughter of Mike and Kathy Boesel who plans to major in nursing. “And I don’t expect any.”

Arnold will play Division I lacrosse for a Spiders program pegged as one of the nation’s up-and-coming. Coached by West Genesee and Duke graduate Dan Chemotti, Arnold is preparing to run at long-stick midfielder on faceoffs and drop back on defense when called upon. 

But there was more than lacrosse that went into the decision for Arnold, who also drew interest from Virginia Military Institute, Siena College, LeMoyne and Tampa. 

“It’s one of the top 15 business schools in the country,” said Arnold, the son of Jay and Christine Arnold who plans to major in business management and minor in accounting. “And it’s a team that’s looking to be in the tournament in the next couple of years.”

Baker is the only non-lacrosse athlete of Monday’s group. She’s heading to Gannon University on a partial scholarship for cheer and says expectations for cheer members are right on par with any sport at any college. But knowing she’s got something to look forward to and prepare for will make the transition to college even smoother.

“Just having a team to go to, especially as a freshman and not knowing anyone,” said Baker, daughter of Tom and Shelly Baker who plans to study occupational therapy. “Having a family away from my hometown.”

Savage won’t be far from her hometown as a member of the women’s lacrosse team at Binghamton next year. Monday’s celebration wasn’t a surprise in that she made her decision long ago, but it did serve as a bit of a marker in the journey of preparing for a new level of lacrosse.

“I’m super excited,” said Savage, daughter of Scott and Jeanna Savage who has not declared a major. “Getting to sign here with all my best friends and the people I grew up playing with. It feels like a new chapter to my life.”

Also recognized on Monday were Cierra Scheik, daughter of Tim and Michelle Scheik, who will play lacrosse at Division I Niagara and major in sports psychology; Sophia Leva, daughter of George and Beth Leva, who will play Division I lacrosse at Marquette and study exercise physiology; and Anna Leva, daughter of George and Beth Leva, who will play lacrosse at Edinboro and major in art.