Signing Day: Carroll athletes make their college choices

Signing Day: Carroll athletes make their college choices
Zane Lewis lands in the end zone to score a touchdown as South Carroll's Dylan Wilson defends during the first half of their game in Winfield Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO)

Zane Lewis, the 2017 Times Football Player of the Year, tweeted out a note Wednesday that he has left his mark on “Good ole Carroll County,” and he would miss it, as he announced his commitment to attend Shepherd University and play football for the Rams.

The Westminster senior receiver joins eight Owls in total who plan to play football in college, seven of whom recently made commitments — Brandon Allen (Wesley College), Noah Buttiglieri (Fairmont), Aaron Golberg (Juniata), Roman Hawkins (West Virginia, preferred walk-on), Logan Nave (Alderson Broaddus), Cole Prodoehl (McDaniel), and TJ Schatz (Shepherd).


Lewis, a four-year starter and team captain for the Owls, said he narrowed his list to three schools — Robert Morris, Towson, and Shepherd. His decision to choose Shepherd stemmed from the school’s proximity, its family concept and the campus culture, he said.

Lewis added he didn’t originally consider Shepherd at the start of his recruitment process. His initial goal was to play at the Division I level, but he was attracted to the Rams’ level of competition and liked the team’s involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization.

“[I’m excited for] the opportunities it will bring me to get closer to my dream of playing in the NFL; the people I will meet, the overall journey, the trials I’ll go through, and the memories I’ll make with those individuals,” Lewis said.

Lewis led Westminster last fall with 40 receptions for 623 yards and six touchdowns and the Owls captured their first county championship since 2013.

The Owls defeated Watkins Mill in a Class 3A West regional semifinal, but fell to Linganore in the regional final the following week. Much of the team’s success ignited the Westminster community and Owls coach Matt Study praised Westminster’s faithful, including its teachers and families for contributing to the success of his players.

“Words can’t express how proud I am of them,” Study said. “We as a coaching staff and the Westminster High faculty and community are so proud of anybody that’s able to go pursue their dreams, whatever it may be. To have these boys be able to achieve that piece of getting into a college and some of them having college paid for is absolutely amazing and it says a lot about the Westminster High School faculty and the commitment teachers put in, what the coaching staff puts in, the players and their families.

“It all comes together and this is what the end result is. We want to develop good citizens and men of integrity. It’s that culminating piece that really makes you proud.”

Westminster's Taylor Whitmer (20) during a girls school playoff game between Manchester Valley and Westminster.
Westminster's Taylor Whitmer (20) during a girls school playoff game between Manchester Valley and Westminster. (Daniel Kucin Jr. / For the Carroll County Times)

Wednesday marked the first day for football and soccer players to sign national letters of intent, or make their college choices official. They have until Aug. 1 to commit — the signing period for all other sports begins April 11.

Westminster senior Taylor Whitmer signed her letter Wednesday to play women’s soccer at Maryland. She totaled nine goals and eight assists as a junior forward in 2016, but missed her senior year because of a knee injury.

Century senior Kaylee Titus signed to play women’s soccer at Northwestern. Titus is a two-time Times first-team pick on defense.

Liberty senior Emily Garrick is headed to Old Dominion for women’s soccer. Garrick collected eight goals and two assists last fall en route to a first-team all-county nod.

Mount Airy resident Brett St. Martin, a senior at Mount St. Joseph, signed his letter with Maryland for men’s soccer. St. Martin played defense for the Gaels and last fall helped them reach the MIAA A Conference title game. St. Martin finished his high school career with 13 goals and 10 assists.

There will undoubtedly be more local football and soccer players making their college choices official, and Carroll’s coaches seem pleased their players are garnering recognition.

“At the end of the day, the state of Maryland is a hotbed for football,” Study said. “There’s a lot of notoriety for lacrosse, but football is definitely a top five, if not higher, hotbed for top athletes. Athletes of all levels are going to go on and play in college and recruiters know that.”