Cherry Hill East student athletes commit to college for various sports (Lauren Winslow )
Cherry Hill East student athletes commit to college for various sports

Lauren Winslow

Cherry Hill East Student Athlete’s College Commitments Part 1

November 4, 2022

Welcome to the first of multiple commitment packages this year. These packages are meant to spotlight the student-athletes of Cherry Hill East that have decided to continue playing in college. This first package will feature five students from East who have already committed.

Sami Bloom commits to Montclair State University to play field hockey

Bloom+commits+to+Montclair+State+for+field+hockey.

Courtesy of Sami Bloom

Bloom commits to Montclair State for field hockey.

Sami Bloom (‘23) has committed to Montclair State University to play Field Hockey for the Red Hawks.

Bloom, a three-year varsity player for East, was selected to lead the East field hockey team as one of the captains for the 2022-2023 season. As a versatile midfield/forward she has been an important playmaker for the team, earning an impressive 17 goals and three assists for the Cougars this year and making her the lead scorer for East during her senior year. Last December, Bloom was selected for post-season honors as an All-Conference Olympic-National second-team player.

At age nine, Bloom began playing field hockey and loved the game right from the start. In addition to playing for East, she also competes year-round for a club team, Uprise Field Hockey Club. The sport is important to Bloom who puts in the time and effort to continue to develop new skills. Bloom decided early on that she wanted to play field hockey in college. To achieve this goal, she held herself to a high training standard and worked hard to earn a spot on a college field hockey team.

“I have been wanting to play in college my whole life. Having that opportunity and being able to continue my athletic career means the world to me. It’s my favorite thing to do,” said Bloom.

A busy student-athlete who also plays basketball and lacrosse for East, Bloom has developed strong time management skills that allow her to successfully manage her schoolwork, training, and the demands of playing for multiple teams. She is efficient with her time and appreciates the structure that sports bring to her life. Playing sports has taught Bloom leadership skills that she uses on and off the field.

Playing sports at a competitive level includes a lot of time driving to practices, spending weekends at tournaments, and traveling to showcases. Bloom knows that she is fortunate that her parents were supportive of her athletic career.

“My parents took the time . . . to make sure that I can get to where I need to be to succeed. They have pushed me when I didn’t believe in myself. I think they are the most impactful people along with a lot of my coaches,” said Bloom.

Bloom’s most memorable game from her high school career was this year’s East vs. West game. This game was especially meaningful to her because it included a great team effort by East and allowed her to execute new skills in a game against a division rival.

“We all worked together and played very well. I scored a goal on a corner and a drive which was very exciting for me. Then I scored another goal off of a reverse chip. Personally, I’ve been working on making my drive stronger and I have been working to get my reverse shot down so when I scored two goals off of those skills, it was very big for me. We all just worked together to execute,” said Bloom.

While Bloom described the college recruitment process as stressful, she is very happy with how it turned out. After visiting Montclair State, practicing with the team, and meeting the coaches, Bloom knew that she had found the right college. It checked all the boxes that were important to her, the academics were strong, the campus was beautiful, and the teammates were welcoming and passionate about the sport.

“The team had my same vibe personality wise, really had such a competitive drive that you could see. I am a very competitive person and I wanted to be part of an environment where field hockey is as important to them as it is to me,” said Bloom.

Shaw commits to playing soccer at Northern Kentucky University

Shaw+commits+to+Northern+Kentucky.

Courtesy of Trey Shaw

Shaw commits to Northern Kentucky.

Trey Shaw (‘23), starting as a center back for East, will continue his academic and soccer career at Northern Kentucky University next fall. Shaw has helped bring his team to an admirable record of 9-3-2 thus far. Shaw has been playing soccer for the last 15 years and is excited to continue playing in college.

His decision to play soccer at the D1 level is the culmination of his dream, and the robust effect soccer has had on his family. Interestingly, he will be the 4th in his family to play soccer at the D1 level.

Soccer “runs in the family,” said Shaw.

Out of all the schools, Shaw chose Northern Kentucky University; he was drawn to the coaching staff and teammates. At Northern Kentucky University, Shaw looks forward to getting close to his team and “really just playing the sport he loves.”

Shaw said playing with the Real soccer club outside of East has enhanced his skills, and playing soccer at East has intensified his love for soccer.

Shaw says his teammates are like family.

“[My] [mom] has always been pushing me to get stronger and go further, and [playing] [at] [the] D1 level makes her very proud,” said Shaw.

Shaw has played varsity soccer for 4 years at East. So far, his best memory of playing soccer was qualifying for a sectional final in his sophomore year. This is a memory Shaw says he will never forget.

Shaw’s athletic accomplishment is very exciting; his friends, family, and community are excited about what the future holds for Shaw.

Shaw will begin his first semester at Northern Kentucky University, majoring in Cyber Security and playing soccer next fall.

Lizzy Sommeling commits to University of Vermont for soccer

Sommeling+commits+to+Vermont+for+soccer.

Lucas Tang ('23)

Sommeling commits to Vermont for soccer.

Lizzy Sommeling (‘23) has committed to play Division 1 soccer for the reigning America East women’s soccer champion team at the University of Vermont.

Sommeling has been a four-year varsity player for East and is currently serving in her second consecutive year as a team captain. She is a crucial player for the Cougars and demonstrates her versatility as a center midfielder. Sommeling has strong technical skills that allow her to support the offense by connecting passes while also moving to help the defense when needed. Last season Sommeling was the team’s leading scorer and recorded an impressive 12 goals and two assists for East.

Soccer has been a part of Sommerling’s life ever since she started playing in the recreational league (rec) league at age three. While she continued to play soccer and other sports during elementary school, at age 10, her focus shifted exclusively to soccer when her family moved to Italy for a year. During her time living in Italy, Sommeling played on two soccer teams, including an all boys club team. Initially, the language barrier made it even more challenging to play, but Sommeling stuck with the team and learned to play a more physical game.

“As time went on, my Italian got better and I grew to be more comfortable . . . . I think it definitely helped me develop into the player I am today,” wrote Sommeling.

When she returned home from Italy, Sommeling knew that she wanted to get serious about planning to play soccer in college and started to play year round at PDA (Players Development Academy). Sommeling’s dad has always supported her as an athlete and she views him as the person who has impacted her the most as a player.

“He has been there the whole time. He comes to every single one of my games [and] whether it’s an hour away or five minutes away, he’s there,” said Sommeling.

Her talent on the field has made Sommeling a standout soccer player in South Jersey. In 2021, she was selected as a first team Olympic Conference player and has been named a Top 20 player in South Jersey.

While college recruiting for soccer typically starts during sophomore year, COVID delayed the recruiting process for Sommeling. During her junior year, Sommeling attended national showcases with PDA in Tennessee, Florida, and New Jersey. Throughout the year, she spoke with coaches on the phone, attended clinics, and visited colleges. After receiving an invitation from the University of Vermont coach, Sommeling visited the University last January and discovered that the program offered the perfect balance of academics and athletics.

“I loved it despite the cold. It was really snowy. They set me up with a player on the team. I got to go around campus with her. . . . I got to watch a practice. All through the spring, I saw other schools, but I always compared them to Vermont. Vermont was the best,” said Sommeling.

Playing soccer at East has been a highlight of Sommeling’s high school experience. One of her favorite memories is the East versus West game during Cherry Hill Soccer Night in 2021. There was a doubleheader that night and a huge crowd came out to watch the game where she scored the tying goal.

“It’s the most fans we’ve ever had. As a girl’s sport, we don’t get a lot of love. It was really cool to have everyone there and everyone so excited for me and for the team” said Sommeling.

Soccer has played a large role in Sommeling’s life and has taught her lessons that go beyond the sport. By being a team player, she has developed strong communication skills, gained leadership experience, and has learned to always get back up and keep trying.

“The biggest thing that high school soccer has taught me is how to bring people back up and how to support your teammates, hug them when they are down, wipe their tears. It was always just rub some dirt on it for me, but as I went through high school that is something that I have learned, caring for other people,” said Sommeling.

Sommeling has a great future ahead of her and she will do amazing things at Vermont!

East swimmer Emily Fekete commits to University of South Carolina

Fekete commits to the University of South Carolina.

Fekete commits to the University of South Carolina.

Emily Fekete (‘23) has been swimming almost all her life. At age four, she started swimming at Fox Hollow Swim Club in Cherry Hill. She stuck with the sport and as she improved she made it even more of her life. She started swimming for East her freshman year. She had started this process as just a summer sport, but four years later she was swimming all year round. Backstroke and freestyle are Fekete’s main strokes of swimming, however, she mainly competes in the backstroke races which also happen to be her favorite stroke. Fekete’s inspiration for swimming comes from her mother, who is also her biggest supporter.

“She’s definitely my number one fan and I would not be in the place I am today without her,” Fekete said.

Coming to East, Fekete knew that she would be competing on one of the best teams in the state. During her freshman year, Fekete helped the team win a state championship against Bridgewater-Raritan in 2020.

In addition to swimming for East, Fekete also swims for a club team named SJAC year-round. She enjoys “all of the travel trips with [her] best friends.” Along with swimming for East and SJAC, Emily trains and lifts with Full Circle Fitness. Usually, she would take around 3 weeks off from everything each year.

Finally, her years of dedication and intense training have led her to an amazing future in swimming at the University of South Carolina. On June 15th, Fekete’s recruiting process began. Fekete quickly “narrowed [her] search to SEC and ACC schools that had both men’s and women’s teams, a successful coaching staff, and an academic program that will help [her] reach [her] future goals.” After visiting South Carolina’s campus and talking to their coaches, Fekete knew that she would be a future Gamecock where she would surely continue a successful swimming career.

Jakub Samelko commits to Bucknell University for soccer

Samelko+commits+to+Bucknell+for+soccer.

Courtesy of Jakub Samelko

Samelko commits to Bucknell for soccer.

Jakub Samelko (´23) has committed to Bucknell University for men’s soccer. Samelko has been playing soccer for about eight years, he plays for Real Jersey Football club and used to play for Cherry Hill High School East´s soccer team.

¨I played for East my sophomore year, but my club team made me choose and I chose club.¨

Samelko has been playing soccer for eight years and plays year-round. His position is forward. Samelko started the recruitment process his junior year and the way he described it was ¨extremely stressful.¨

Samelko toured other schools before making his final decision. ¨I had a friend going to Bucknell so I decided to reach out to the coach.¨

Samelko has always known he wanted to play soccer in college so after reaching out to the coach he toured the school and got an offer within the same month.

Being an athlete and a high school student is not an easy thing to manage ¨I do my school work during the day and at school if I can and focus on soccer when I’m out of school.¨

Samelko said his biggest struggle with the recruitment process is that Covid drained a lot of money out of most of the programs so the offers weren´t as good as they should have been.¨

Having a support system is also a super crucial part of the recruitment process. Samelko says his biggest supporters are, ¨[his] parents, coaches, and teammates.¨

Samelko shared that his biggest struggle with soccer is always maintaining consistency while his biggest strengths are that he is very athletic, technical, and fast.

Samelko´s biggest advice to any players that are considering starting the recruitment process is ¨don´t give up and contact coaches to get your name out there.¨

Samelko plans on majoring in finance and East wishes him the best as he continues his athletic and academic journey.

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