A standing room only crowd filled the Academic Commons Wednesday, to cheer on student athletes committing to play at the next level. Teammates, coaches and family members all packed the place for Winter Signing Day, when athletes sign letters of intent to continue their sport at the college level.
At this signing day ceremony – the second of three this year – five athletes took their seats at the signing table. Their sports ran the gamut, from baseball, basketball and football, to hockey and swimming.
|Concordia University Chicago
|St. Norbert’s College
|Purdue Northwest University
Jeff Beckert has played baseball all four years at Saint Viator, helping to anchor the middle of the infield as a shortstop and second baseman. Now, he will be playing at Concordia University Chicago, located in River Forest. The Cougars compete in the Northern Athletic Collegiate Conference, which they won in 2017.
“I love the coaches and their winning tradition,” Jeff said. “I just want to keep playing.”
Evan Collins is the first Lions’ swimmer to commit to a college program since Michael Balcerak ’19. Evan will be swimming at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, Wisconsin, where both of his parents, Eric and Laura, attended. He grew up swimming in the Arlington Heights Park District and credits his coaches at Saint Viator with helping to develop.
“I mostly do the IM (individual medley) and 100 butterfly,” Evan says, “but I can do all the strokes.”
His coach, Zach Miller, agrees, saying: “He’s a versatile swimmer, who works hard and is a good leader. He’ll make a good college swimmer.”
Luca Cutinello played wide receiver for the Lions and was a favorite target for Lions quarterback, Cooper Kmet. He committed to play Division II football with the Chargers at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.
“It’s a school that aligns with my values,” said Luca, who plans to major in pre-dentistry with the hopes of becoming an oral surgeon.
Head Coach Dave Archibald described Luca as a good athlete with a diverse skill set. “He’s fast enough to run deep routes, as well as possession plays, underneath.”
Mitch Humphrey is one of the Lions’ top shooting guards on the basketball court, specializing in 3-pointers. This fall, he’ll be taking his sharp shooting out east, to play with the White Mules at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
“Finding kids that can knock down outside shots consistently, with his size, academics and character, is not easy,” Coach Michael O’Keeffe said.
Vitalii Strutynskyi arrived at Saint Viator last year, after he and his family fled war-torn Ukraine. While adjusting to a new school and language, Vitalii found help in adapting through playing hockey. Now, in his second year with the Lions, he is one of the top forwards on the team and will play in college with the Pride at Purdue Northwest University in Hammond, Indiana.
“I wanted to play hockey and they had the academics I was looking for,” said Vitalii who plans to major in cyber security. “I’ve dreamed of playing at the next level, in college and even beyond, and this will help me get there.”