Eight Orchard Park High School Seniors Commit to Play Collegiate Sports
Eight Orchard Park High School seniors committed to play their sports at the college level. The students were able to celebrate during a ceremony and photo opportunity at the Orchard Park High School on Wednesday April 20, 2022.
Conor Balen will be playing Men’s Golf at Canisius College next year. He began playing in pre-school with his grandfather. He learned many aspects of the game at a very young age. Conor loves the relaxing atmosphere of the course and the challenge of playing different types of courses. He is very determined but faces each stroke with a calm attitude. He attributes his success in golf to many hours practicing and spending the last 5 years working with Coach Leary on the Orchard Park High School golf team. Conor is looking forward to attending Canisius. He feels it is a great school for both academics and athletics and his mother is a Canisius graduate. He feels that playing at the college level will allow for new experiences and competitions. He also feels it will be great to continue to be a part of a team. Conor plans to study computer science and hopes to work in the computer or engineering field in the future.
Ben Ciesielski will be playing football at the Catholic University of America next year. He got his start in the sport when he joined the Orchard Park Little League when he was seven-years-old. Ben loves being able to be on a team and play for himself and the guys around him. He decided to continue playing in college because he can’t imagine a life without football, so he knew he wanted to continue in college if that was an option. Ben chose to attend The Catholic University of America because he wants to experience learning, living and playing football in Washington DC. He hopes to take advantage of all the possible career opportunities available there.
Ayden Herreid will be playing volleyball at Elmira College next year. He began playing in middle school after seeing his friends play. Ayden loves how fast-paced and competitive the game is. He chose Elmira College because of the education programs they offered in addition to the level of volleyball. Ayden attributes his success in volleyball to his being scrappy and more athletic than many of the players he competes against. He also feels he works twice as hard as anyone else on the court. Ayden plans to study adolescent education with a focus in social studies. As he moves on to graduate school, he plans to focus on physical education and health.
Aidan Lenz will be playing football at Alfred State University. Aidan began playing football in eighth grade. He loves being a part of something that is bigger than himself, including having responsibilities that not only affect him but also his teammates. Aidan chose to continue playing in college to prove to himself that the hours of work and dedication to football had a purpose and to show his parents that the years they spent watching him play and taking him to practices were for something. Aidan feels he has been successful in football because of his ability to communicate well with his teammates. He chose to attend Alfred State because they have a great engineering program and a great football program. Aidan plans to study aero-space engineering and he hopes to work for a major space program in the future.
Christa Perrin plans to bowl at Medaille College next year. She has been bowling for 13 years. Christa decided to continue bowling in college because it has been a significant part of her life and she felt she has been improving considerably and hopes to continue to learn and grow in the sport. She loves the sense of accomplishment she can get from bowling. Christa plans to major in business administration with a concentration in marketing. She opted to attend Medaille because it isn’t far from home and she liked the smaller class sizes which allows students to have one on one with their teachers. She hopes to be a marketing manager for a major business in her future.
Kross Rapini will be playing football at Baldwin Wallace University. Kross began playing Little Loop football when he was five- years-old. He loves the life-long friends he has made and having the 11 guys on the field working toward one goal. He decided to play during college because he wanted to continue playing football for as long as possible. He attributes his success in football to the work that no one really sees: like his nutrition plan and being in the gym five days a week. Kross is looking forward to attending Baldwin Wallace it was a perfect fit for him as it is not too far from home and the coaches there saw him as an asset to the team not just another number on the roster. Kross plans to study sports management and hopes to be an equipment director for an SEC or ACC college in the future.
Mackenzie Scupien will be playing lacrosse at SUNY Buffalo State. Mackenzie began playing in sixth grade after her fifth grade teacher had encouraged her to try out. She loves the competitiveness of lacrosse and the people she has met through lacrosse. Mackenzie knew she wanted to continue at a higher level of competition and continue to grow as a player through college. She feels her team player mindset and commitment to the game has helped her go as far as she has in lacrosse. She decided to attend SUNY Buffalo State because she felt the coach was a perfect fit and the atmosphere of the college felt very welcoming and natural to her. Mackenzie will be studying business administration with a focus in marketing at Buffalo State. She hopes to become a Financial Advisor in the future.
Declan Stiles will be bowling at SUNY Erie Community College next year. Declan started bowling at 5-years-old and hasn’t stopped. Declan decided to continue bowling in college because he has had success throughout high school, loves the game and knows he can be an elite competitor. Declan attributes his success in bowling to his continued hard work and dedication. Declan is planning to go into Engineering, and ECC's Engineering Sciences program gives him an opportunity to learn about Engineering disciplines and fulfill the first two years of a four-year Engineering degree. He plans to use these two years to choose the discipline towards which he wishes to direct his career. In addition, having an opportunity to compete for a spot on ECC's nationally-ranked (#3) Junior College bowling team is very appealing to him. Declan plans to go on to Rochester Institute of Technology after ECC and potentially bowl regionally.