By Dave Merchant
Several recently graduated Trenton High School athletes will continue playing sports in college with a variety of scholarships, grants and financial assistance ranging from partial to full rides.
“I think it was a typical year for us,” Athletic Director Bret Woodley said. “We have a lot of D2 (Division 2) and D3 (Division 3) students who will end up playing college sports.”
He said that while a lot of the students from Trenton go on to play athletics in college, they don’t always get full rides. Some of the schools only offer academic money and grants, but nothing for sports.
Hockey players typically have to take an intermediary step of developing their skills in junior league amateur hockey in order to position themselves for a spot on a college squad. Two Trenton hockey players will move up to junior play this fall.
Football Coach Bob Czarnecki said he’s never had this many players from one class go on to play at the college level. Six members of the 2011 football squad will play at various Michigan colleges.
“It will be exciting, especially when some of them will be playing each other,” Czarnecki said.
Woodley said many of the athletes from this year’s graduating class were fun to watch. He wished them all well in college and hoped to see them come back when they visit home. The 2012 grads who will continue playing sports at the next level include:
Jason Barbosa, football, Olivet; Michael Czarnecki, football, Albion; Cory Dunn, hockey, Michigan Warriors Main Camp North American Junior League; Hunter Depalma, volleyball, Ferris State; Lauren Featherston, basketball, Oakland Community College; Chad Hamilton, football, Albion; Matt McCourt, soccer, University of Michigan-Dearborn; Warren Markowsky, wrestling, U.S. Naval Academy; Nick Moutgalias, football, Olivet; Cody Perrault, football, Seinna Heights; Chris Porreca, soccer, University of Michigan-Dearborn; Megan Solano, tennis, Alma; Kara Stadelman, swimming, Grand Valley State University; Julie Suyak, softball, Ohio Dominican; Makenzie Trowbridge, softball, U of M-Dearborn; Tim Walters, football, Seinna Heights; Blake Wojtala, hockey, Odessa Texas North American Junior League.
For Moutgalias, deciding to play football for Olivet this fall was a decision that seemed like a natural.
“They had a new staff at Olivet and I really liked them,” Moutgalias said. “I visited a lot of different Division 3 schools in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana and I liked them the best.”
He will be studying exercise science and majoring in the liberal arts program that Olivet offers. Both he and Jason Barbosa will be playing at Olivet this season. One of their opponents will be Albion, where Czarnecki and Hamilton will be playing this fall.
At 5-10½ and weighing 250, Moutgalias will look to be successful in college.
“The private schools are not allowed to give you scholarships for athletics so they have to do it with academics,” he said.
“They find as much money as they can for you other ways. So it ends up costing the same as if you went to a Central Michigan University or Eastern Michigan University.”
He will begin football camp on Aug. 11 when he reports to school. His biggest moment in high school football was playing Woodhaven his sophomore year when Aaron Bailey was a Warrior. Everyone told them they would get killed. Instead his team stopped Bailey and won the game in overtime.
His favorite classes in high school were history and government.
His parents, Jim and Sue, are very supportive of his sports. He has an older brother, George (25), who went to Grand Valley State University and a sister, Sue (21), who is attending Eastern Michigan University.
Moutgalias offers some simple but good advice to make it to college and play sports.
“You really want to work for it,” he said. “Every workout you have to do as much as you can.”
For Trenton soccer standout Porreca, it only made sense that he play on the first varsity-level team for U of M-D.
“It is the first year of the program and they are a great academic school,” Porreca said. “I have been playing soccer for about 13 years.”
The school will face such opponents as Spring Arbor, Davenport, Madonna and Indiana Tech.
“A lot of the matches are pretty close,” he said.
This last year the Trenton soccer team won the district title by beating Divine Child, 2-1.
“My biggest moment in high school soccer came when I scored the winning goal against Divine Child,” he said. “We lost in the regional semifinals to Bloomfield Hills Andover, 2-0.”
At the club level he has played for the Downriver Rush and the Northville Rush.
His parents Vince and Debbie are very supportive of his sports, especially soccer. His brothers Nick (16), Alex (13) and Zack (11) all play soccer and even play several other sports.
Chris offers some advice that sounds simple but isn’t so easy to follow for athletes who want to go on from high school to college to play sport.
“You have to be willing to invest a lot of time and effort (in your sport),” he said. “You have to be persistent about the sport.”
Dave Merchant is a freelance writer for the Trenton Trib and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.