November 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Seven Ink Letters of Intent, Shattering AHA’s Signing Day Record

Demarest, NJ: Seven members of the Holy Angels Class of 2020 set an Academy record November 18, when they became the largest group of AHA athletes to sign national letters of intent on the same day. AHA Athletic Director Patti Gorsuch welcomed numerous spectators to the ceremony, including family members, friends, and coaches.

Kylee Amato of Bergenfield and Samantha Hess of Nutley have both committed to play softball for Bentley University. Twin sisters Nicolette and Daniella Martinez of Park Ridge will be playing volleyball for New Jersey City University. AHA track stars Christina Bagin of Glen Ridge, Nicole Barbaro of Fort Lee, and Maris Rodriguez of Ridgewood will continue their athletic careers at Hamilton College, Amherst College, and Saint Joseph’s University (respectively).

“It certainly was a day to remember,” Gorsuch said. “What a fantastic group of student-athletes. Their ability, leadership, and desire to always do their best will lead them to even more success on the collegiate level. I am so very proud of them.”

Amato has been playing little league and travel ball since she was in grammar school. As a seventh grader, she tried out for her first club team. Ultimately, she landed a place in the NJ Pride lineup, where she threw right and batted left. Every day, she practiced on her own, and soon became a formidable offensive player. As a former pitcher, she learned to read the field and watch pitch placement to decide if she should bunt, slap, or hit. She is one of the few players able to power-slap home runs. Amato is an honor student at AHA, where she is team captain and a member of the Student Athletic Association. She was named Second Team All-Division as a freshman and a sophomore, and followed up by being named First Team All-Division and Honorable Mention All-County as a junior.

Bagin had never participated in organized track events before she joined the cross-country team as a freshman. Once she started, she discovered a love for the sport and earned the “Most Improved” distinction after her first year. She soon earned First Team All-County in the 4x800 event, and her team finished third at New Balance Nationals. Each season, Bagin continued to win spots on the All-League and All-County teams.

“School has always come first,” said Bagin, who has managed to excel in the classroom and on the track. She is consistently named to the Honor Roll and Principal’s List for maintaining an excellent grade point average. She was recently inducted into Rho Kappa, a national honor society for students who excel in social studies and service activities.

Barbaro started running track with NJ Striders Track Club, but stopped before high school to pursue competitive dance. When she entered AHA, she joined the track team and found her passion for hurdling. As a junior, Barbaro was named Athlete of the Week by The Record, earned AHA’s Most Valuable Athlete award in both winter and spring, made All-League and All-County in the 400m, and broke multiple individual and relay school records. She qualified and competed at the State Meet of Champions, Penn Relays, and New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

Barbaro is also a member of multiple honor societies, including the National Honor Society. She will begin her senior winter season as a captain, and hopes for a great end to her AHA track career.

“All of my life I had thought that I was going to play soccer in high school, but through soccer I started running track,” Rodriguez recalled. “I began running track competitively in fifth grade and fell in love with it. I then realized that track was something that I would want to continue doing in high school. When I came to Holy Angels, I was worried about how I would balance academics and athletics. I learned how to manage my time, and I was able to be on the Honor Roll and be in honors classes.”

This fall, she was commissioned as a Eucharistic Minister.

As a member of AHA’s track team, Rodriguez has made it to nationals and helped AHA win the Penn Relays. Rodriguez has received All-League and All-County honors, and was The Record’s Athlete of the Week.

Hess said she has been in love with the game of softball since she joined T-ball. As a fourth grader, she joined her town’s travel team, and soon started playing for her first club team, East Coast Tsunami Softball. She has been AHA’s starting second baseman since her freshman year, and bats leadoff and second. She earned Second Team All-Division during her freshman and sophomore years, as was named First Team All-Division and Honorable Mention All-County as a junior. Hess is AHA’s representative on the NJSIAA Student-Athlete Advisory Council, and meets with fellow student-athletes from all over New Jersey to improve the league.

Hess is an honors and AP student, and belongs to three honor societies.

Daniella Martinez has been playing volleyball for the past nine years. She is a member of the AHA team and the Essex Volleyball Club. Each day, she works on her agility and strength. During her sophomore year, Daniella mastered the three hardest ball sets: a slide, a thirty-one, and a hut. She was honored to become the youngest girl on her 18s team, a distinction she shares with her twin sister Nicolette. Daniella was named Second Team All-County for the past three years.

Nicolette Martinez also plays volleyball for AHA and for the Essex Volleyball Club, where she and her sister were the youngest girls on the 18s team last year. She plays as a libero, but switched to defensive specialist and outside to cover for an injured teammate. These additional skills make her an impressive opponent. She made Big North Conference Second Team All-Division as a sophomore. During her junior year, she broke the AHA record with the most digs. She was named to the Big North Conference First Team All-Division, and earned Second Team All-County honors.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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