By Tamas Mondovics

Student-athletes throughout Hillsborough County joined thousands of high school seniors last month as they celebrated their commitment of taking their academic and athletic talents to the next level.

Local schools taking part in the annual National Letter of Intent signing day included Bloomingdale and Newsome High Schools that combined nearly a dozen students in the spotlight signing baseball, softball, lacrosse, volleyball and golf scholarships.

Bloomingdale High School sported four talented student-athletes who have enjoyed the recognition for their hard work at the school’s Media Center.

Mariah Blackmon committed to play Division II softball with Converse College in South Carolina next fall, Austin James, Chase Lackmann and Alex Miller will play baseball with Florida International University, Rollins College and Marymount University respectively.

“I know where I am going next year and so it is a great burden off my shoulders,” Blackmon said. “Since my last high school season is yet to come, I am planning on working hard and finish it strong.”

Joining its neighboring rival, Newsome’s nationally-ranked softball team featured five of its players signing with Division IA programs during a ceremony at the school on Friday, November 13.

The five players included, Cassidy Davis (FSU), Claire Feldman (Utah), Brooke Leistl (USF), Hannah Pridemore (Duke) and Annie Tarte (Yale). 

The girls enjoyed the spotlight especially in the wake of last year’s Class 8A state title success, which earned the program a number 13 spot in the nation by USA Today, ahead of any team in the state.

The signing festivities at Newsome also included lacrosse players Hanna Bradley (LMU), Ian Lukas (FSC) and Eric Parvin (UAHuntsville).

Matt Leslie will play baseball at Ave Maria University, volleyball talent, Tori Omoregie will join the team at Saint Leo, while Justin Wendling will sharpen his golf skills at Murray State University.

“I am very excited and looking forward to joining my new team,” Wendling said, who helped Newsome on its quest for a state appearance. “It’s a perfect fit for me both academically and athletically.”

For more information about the Newsome and Bloomingdale athletics, visit

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