A total of 12 area prep athletes made their college choice known this week as national signing day for athletes was Wednesday around the country.

Six of those athletes will be competing in track and field and two each in baseball, basketball and volleyball.


Perhaps no smaller school nationally can boast a pair of major college baseball pitching signees as New Riegel can.

Michael Kirian signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Louisville Wednesday while classmate Alex Theis signed with Ohio State.

Kirian, whose sister Taylor is a Division I athlete for the University of Akron softball, team made a verbal commitment to Louisville during the spring of his sophomore year. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefty missed all of last year with an injury, but had outstanding freshman and sophomore seasons for the Blue Jackets.

Theis, meanwhile, also made an early commitment to Ohio State. Like Kirian, he missed all of the last baseball season at New Riegel with an injury. The 6-1, 190-pound lefty has a fastball that ranges between 83-87 miles per hour and a 74-76 mph curveball, according to various baseball recruiting services websites.


The University of Findlay landed one of the top area senior boys basketball players in Liberty-Benton 6-4 senior Anthony Masterlasco.

A two-time first-team all-Blanchard Valley Conference selection for the Eagles, Masterlasco averaged 20 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals per game as a junior.

He helped lead his team to a spot in the regional tournament a year ago.


North Baltimore’s Kiah Powell will also play basketball at the NCAA Division II level at Malone University.

Powell, a 6-0 senior forward, was a third-team all-BVC selection as a junior. She averaged 12.0 points with 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season to lead the Tigers.


Wheeling Jesuit University’s volleyball program kept its recruiting pipeline in the area going by signing McComb’s MaKenna Babb.

Findlay grads Emma Schleucher and Kayce Krucki, current seniors at Wheeling Jesuit, led the WJU to the NCAA Division II national championship a year ago.

Babb, a 5-9 senior outside hitter/defensive specialist, helped lead McComb to a spot in the Division IV state tournament this season. She led the Panthers with 411 digs, 207 kills, 55 aces and 38 blocks this season.


Leipsic’s Brooke Gerdeman signed earlier this week to take her volleyball talents to Owens Community College.

Gerdeman led Leipsic to a 21-4 record this season. The 6-2, senior middle hitter hammered 367 kills with 85 blocks to lead the Vikings at the net.


The area’s other six signees will compete track and field at the NCAA Division I and II level.

Liberty-Benton seniors Meghan Bartel and Leah Recker will sign Thursday with the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Akron respectively, after the pair helped the Eagles win the last two Division II girls OHSAA state track and field championships.

Bartel, who is also a two-time state qualifier in cross country, has qualified for state track in five events during her career collecting all-Ohio honors in the 3,200 relay twice and finishing fourth in the 1,600-meter run as a sophomore.

Recker has qualified for state in the 800 in all three years finishing second each of the last two seasons. Recker has also advanced to state in five relays, earning all-Ohio honors twice.


McComb senior Molly Leppelmeierwill sign to throw for Purdue. Leppelmeier has qualified for state in the shot put and discus three years only missing out on a trip her junior season when she was injured and did not compete.

She finished third in the shot put as a sophomore and won a state championship in the shot put while finishing second in the discus for McComb last season.

Her sisters, Rebecca and Jackie, competed in the throws for Kent State University.


Ottoville’s Brooke Mangas earned a scholarship to compete at Ohio State. Mangas won the last two Division III state high jump championships. She set a new state meet and Division III state interscholastic record a year ago with a leap of 5-10.

She’s also qualified for state twice as a member of Ottoville’s 1,600-meter relay.


Ada’s Grace Nelson signed to attend school and throw for Miami University.

Behind the state’s top female throwers at the district level, she was unable to advance to the regional meet last season.

Nelson had a season-best throw of 39-31/2 in the shot put with a toss of 120-4 in the discus. Both marks were among the best in the state last season.


Bluffton senior Trevor Bassitt will continue his track and field career at Division II Ashland University.

He was a Division III state qualifier in the high jump and 110-meter high hurdles as a junior. Last season he captured a state championship in the 110 high hurdles for the Pirates.

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