Five Bloomingdale High School athletes sign on National Signing Day. (Photo credit: Nancy Nahas.)

The Bloomingdale High School gym was crowded with anticipation on November 8, National Signing Day, as five athletes signed on the dotted line, taking the next step toward their futures.

Baseball outfielder Cooper Hinson signed with Marshall University and will get the chance to play immediately for his team. He wants to help his team win and build a successful program at his school. He will major in political science.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Hinson. “It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of. It’s really surreal today to finally get this opportunity.”

Hinson’s teammate, Pierce Collins, signed with Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. The third baseman said that the school is the right fit for him because it has his computer science program and he has a good chance to play on the baseball team as a freshman right away.

“I loved the surrounding of the school. It was really beautiful,” said Collins. “It’s super exciting, I am really grateful for all the people that have helped me along the way.”

The duo’s teammate, Johnny De La Rosa, will be attending Saint Leo University. The pitcher/outfielder said that the opportunity to play for the school was an unexpected surprise and is thrilled to continue his baseball career. He is currently undecided on his major.

“This celebration is a new chapter in my life, a new beginning,” said De La Rosa. “I get to see what God has in store for me and what baseball will do for me in the future. If baseball doesn’t work out, I’ll always have an education. I want to work hard for every opportunity I get.”

Volleyball star Madison Sofarelli signed with Division II perennial power University of Tampa. The middle blocker said that she wanted to go to the University of Tampa since she was 12 years old and has been going to camps there for that long. Sofarelli led the Bloomingdale volleyball team to a state semifinal appearance this season. She wants to major in either exercise science or physical therapy.

“I love the community, the coach, all the girls,” said Sofarelli. “I actually had a tryout when I went there for a visit. That all led to my decision.”

Josiah Davila-Richardson will play soccer for Wake Forest University. The striker said that Wake Forest was always his favorite of the five schools that were pursuing him. He likes the style of play and the culture of the program. He will major in either sports medicine or business. The soccer star has high hopes of making it past college and into the pros.

“I went on a visit and as soon as I left the school, I made up my mind,” said Davila-Richardson. “I had the best time of my life, and that’s when I knew I wanted to go there. I didn’t wanna go anywhere else.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.