Howell athletes sign letters of intent

Senior+Danielle+Hamilton

Senior Danielle Hamilton

James Edwards, Staff Writer

Senior Danielle Hamilton
Senior Danielle Hamilton

By Staff Writer: James Edwards

On Monday, November 18, four Howell High School seniors signed to play their respective sport in college. These athletes were Danielle Hamilton, Ben Balgaard, Tess Weatherly, and Patrick Albrant. Albrant signed to play lacrosse at Siena Heights University.

Danielle Hamilton signed to play at Saginaw Valley State University to fulfill her dreams of playing softball in college. “I’m very relieved to sign here and get it over with,” says Hamilton. She was a four-year varsity starter and has been a key component to her team all four years, leading her team in batting average, and setting the school record for stolen bases in a single season with 37. She has had a great experience in her years at Howell, “My favorite part of the season has always been going to the high school tournament in Ann Arbor,” says Hamilton. During the recruiting process, her family, teammates and coaches have all been very supportive of her and helped her out along the way. “I’m so grateful to have such good support from those around me the whole way,” says Hamilton. She was receiving interest from multiple schools, including Hillsdale, Davenport, and Ohio Dominican. In the end, she chose to attend Saginaw Valley. “I felt like I had the most opportunities here and I could really make an impact on the program,” says Hamilton. The academic aspect was also very important in her final decision. Hamilton is a 3.9 GPA student and plans on going into the medical field, but is currently undecided on what major to pursue. “I’m happy to be one of the lucky ones to be able to continue my passion in college,” says Hamilton.

Ben Balgaard, a shortstop on the Howell High School baseball team, signed with Northwood University, a Division 2 school located in Midland, Michigan. Balgaard signed here because he knew he had a good shot at starting at his position, shortstop, come baseball season. Balgaard moved to Howell before his sophomore season and has been the varsity starter at shortstop all three years. Despite his being at a new school, Balgaard has made plenty of new friends and new memories that will last a lifetime, including being in the state semifinals for back to back years. “My favorite memory was definitely the comeback we had against Holt in regionals,” says Balgaard, referring to the unbelievable victory his sophomore season. Down 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Highlanders rebounded to win 8-7, and this was in a state regional game, mind you.

When asked about the recruiting process, he claims a certain tournament in Georgia as being a big factor in big-time schools looking at him. “East Cobb (Georgia) was definitely the best tournament for me. It was there that I first talked to the University of Michigan coaching staff. I also gained interest from Clemson and Georgia Tech there,” says Balgaard. With a couple disappointing tournaments after that and a slow junior year in high school, these Division 1 offers fell off, but Balgaard is the type of teenager to find the good in every situation. “Even if I would have accepted at one of the bigger schools I would have been buried in the depth chart and it would have been a while for me to play. I’m excited for Northwood,” says Balgaard. He plans on going into the business field once he gets to Northwood in the fall. “The academics were a huge part in my decision, and I feel like this was my best option,” says Balgaard.

Tess Weatherly signed to play basketball at Northern Michigan University. She really felt like the area made her feel at home, the academics are good. Her favorite part though is that her “teammates and coaches are awesome!” says Weatherly. Her final decision was a tough one. She chose Northern over Davenport, Northwood, Youngstown State and Grand Valley State. She credits her motivation throughout high school has been her team and family, we’ve been through it all together,” says Weatherly. Her favorite time of the year is basketball season, of course, but that doesn’t mean that season has to include her favorite memory. “My top memory is when my Dad helped take the baseball team to the state semifinals two years in a row,” says Weatherly. Her Dad is a co-head coach for the Howell varsity baseball team.

She credits her family and all her past teammates to being her biggest support group in making her decision. Tess has been a three-year starter, making the All-Conference team. Weatherly has been out so far this year due to an injury to her leg that she suffered during a fall scrimmage game, but plans on being back before conference play starts. “I have high expectations for this year, we have a great coach back and great athletes, we should go far together,” says Weatherly.

Each one of these athletes are going to be exciting to watch in their respective season, it would be a mistake to miss out on watching and supporting these athletes before they leave our community and continue their great athletic and academic careers.