What Influenced Waterford’s Best Athletes College Decisions

Cassidy Susi, Editor

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There are over 460,000 NCAA college athletes, more than ever before; however, the road to becoming a committed recruit in any one of the NCAA’s 24 athletic programs is much more difficult than it seems. A handful of Waterford High School’s student athletes have figured it out.


The Class of 2019 remains highly competitive in a variety of sports: baseball, basketball, hockey, track. But the work that its members have put in outside of their high school teams have earned certain athletes offers to play beyond Lancer Athletics. Here’s a look at a few senior commits who chose to continue practicing their passion in their next four years at college.


Julianna Bonilla has played varsity basketball all four years at Waterford High School. She began her recruiting journey in 2015 when she started playing for the AAU Team, Connecticut Nightmare. Beginning in 2016, she has since continued her progress with the elite travel team, Connecticut Storm. Bonilla officially committed to Marist College in New York because she feels it is the best fit for her athletically and academically. Bonilla was attracted the the Division I program’s “amazing winning history” and the bond she immediately felt with the coaches and players. When asked about what she’s looking forward to, Bonilla states, “I am most excited about getting started this summer and being with my new roommates and teammates!”


Liam Spellman, a 6’4’’ senior at WHS, is a two-sport varsity athlete who has won state-championship titles in both baseball and basketball. Spellman has played on AAU basketball teams for numerous seasons and even earned the captain position on this year’s high school team because of his leadership on and off the court. Spellman had committed to Ithaca College’s Division III basketball program, also in New York. When asked what influenced his decision to choose Ithaca, Spellam admits, “They were the school that expressed the most interest in me and would always follow up . . . I really felt wanted when I went on my visit.” As for what he’s most excited for, Spellman explains that he can’t wait to play with the current team, meet the other recruits, and work with Coach Mullins, a “tremendous guy” who Spellman feels will fit his play style perfectly.


Regan Mazzulli began playing field hockey officially as a freshman at Waterford High School. Her work ethic over the following three years earned her a starting spot on her high school’s roster, a captain’s position, and offers to continue playing at multiple universities. Mazzulli traveled with HTC Field Hockey, performing in front of hundreds of college coaches. Her decision to commit to Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio stemmed from her love for the team and coach and the fact that it is a “strong, growing program.” When asked about the Division III school, Mazzulli states, “It is so different from what I’m used to in Connecticut, and I can’t wait to play again.”


Olivia Gianakos received both All-Conference and All-State honors in her junior year of girls lacrosse. Gianakos knew that she would want to continue playing lacrosse at a high level, so she joined the club team, Dodgers Lacrosse. Her work in the off season allowed her to receive interest in an athletic program that also offered a good education. Gianakos officially signed to the University of Hartford’s Division I lacrosse program because of her love for “the coach, the team, and the campus.”


Waterford’s athletics has well-trained athletes that do just as much work in the off-season as they do in high school games. This passion and dedication shows in both the Lancer’s high performing standards and in the numerous athletic commits the school produces. Good luck to all the seniors continuing their sports career in the following years at college, and represent Lancer Nation well!

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