By Keith Raad
Kevin Miller and several of his senior classmates at Ithaca High School celebrated a unique announcement last week. Ithaca High School and its interim athletic director, Jeff Manwaring, announced that 16 student-athletes will continue their academic and athletic careers at NCAA Division I, II, and III universities and colleges throughout the country.
Among the many smiling faces was Miller, a member of the boys swim team and the fastest man in the pool. Miller announced his decision to attend the University of Georgia about three weeks prior to the event. The South did not even enter the picture until a recent deferment.
“I actually applied early to Cornell and was deferred,” Miller says. “So as one door closed, another opened, which was a rollercoaster of emotions.”
On Dec. 12 at junior nationals, Miller swam the mile and then struck up a conversation with Georgia head coach Jack Bauerle. Ironically, on that same date, Cornell turned the swimmer away.
Despite the deferment, Miller found a home with a well-regarded program. In February, Georgia swimming team finished third in the nation in the CSCAA Coaches Poll. Miller won a New York State Public and Federation Title in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:38:87. He also won a State Public Title in the 500-yard freestyle and was a member of the State Public Title-winning 4×100-yard freestyle relay team.
Stepping foot onto Georgia’s campus, Miller enjoyed the stories of Bauerle and his associate head coach Harvey Humphries, who began the program from scratch more than 30 years ago.
In the celebrated crowd at Ithaca High School, other NCAA Division I commitments, such as Andrew Araneo, Rosie Torcivia and Sylvie Studier, also donned their new gear. Araneo, a member of this year’s New York State Final Four boys soccer team, heads to the University of Vermont. Torcivia and Studier, members of the rowing team, will attend Washington State University and George Washington University, respectively.
NCAA Division II athletes include girls basketball standout and Nyack College commit Jocelin Wright and Zoe Zervos, who will continue her lacrosse career at Liberty University.
Other announcements for NCAA Division III schools included Ithaca College, Wells College, Amherst College and Chatham University.
By Keith Raad