Signing Day: Stanford Gets L-W Central Student-Athlete; 2 More Sign for College Sports
Lincoln-Way Central athletes signed their letters of intent Wednesday: two for softball and one for water polo.
Stanford University in California is known the world-over for its academic excellence and athletic prowess. Among its lengthy list of notable alumni are news broadcaster Ted Koppel and Sally Ride, the first woman astronaut, along with five U.S. Supreme Court Justices, three poet laureates, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and 11 Olympians.
This coming fall, its list of future notables comes from New Lenox: 18-year-old Danijela Jackovich. The Lincoln-Way Central High School senior signed an athletic letter of intent Wednesday. She'll be joining the university's acclaimed water polo team.
Jackovich and two Central softball players, Michelle Kriegshauser, 18, of New Lenox, and Gabrielle Boerema, 17, of Manhattan, took the lime-light and signed letters of intent in a special after school ceremony in the school's hall of honor, the Round Table.
Last year, Jackovich was selected for the All-State water polo team and also played on the U.S. Olympic Development Team. Besides her athletic achievements in the pool, she's ranked No. 1 in her class. She's a member of Mathletes, National Honor Society and the Science Club. Simply put, Jackovich is focused and disciplined—a top student-athlete headed to a school that represents both great students and great athletes.
While her mother, Desa Jackovich, and other family members watched with pride, Danijela took pen in hand and the signed the letter that's been her goal since middle school. It's something she's spent countless hours preparing for. Despite her Midwest roots, Danijela is comfortable with the idea of being 2,000 miles away from home.
"I'm ready. I've spent most of my summers in California. I train with a club team out there," said Danijela, who was captain of the USA Youth National Team in 2011. There, she scored several goals against the team from Hungary, where she competed for a two-week stint.
When talking about Danijela, Water Polo Coach Karen Desruisseaux's accolades spill over as fast as her charge can make a goal. "I can honestly say almost as long as I've know Danijela, I knew I would have to give this speech. From the moment Danijela joined our team as a freshman, it was clear should would go onto play water polo after her program (at LWC).
"During her first year on the team, upper-classmen looked to her for advice. At practices, she got in the water early and stayed late."
Jackovich currently plays center for LWC water polo. Speaking about her upcoming West Coast destination, she said, "It's an honor to be able to attend Stanford, and it's just a bonus to be playing water polo. It's a dream come true."
Lincoln-Way Central's Michelle Kriegshauser and Gabrielle Boerema Wednesday signed their athletic letters of intent for softball, and Danijela Jackovich signed a letter of intent for water polo.
In a ceremony held in the Round Table, the Lincoln-Way Central women took a well-deserved spotlight. Next year the girls are headed out-of-state to play at the collegiate level.
- Michelle Kriegshauser, 18, New Lenox, will be headed to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI.
- Gabrielle Boerema, 17, Manhattan, will be headed to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO.
Summing up their achievements and looking forward to the future
Softball Coach Jeff Tarala said, "In all, it takes a special person to earn the opportunity to play their respective sport at the next level. These special people who continue their athletic careers in college share certain characteristics. They are high quality, dedicated and talented individuals. Gabriella Boerema and Michelle Kriegshauser are no exception."
Kriegshauser, who is headed to Eastern Michigan University, currently plays shortstop for LWC softball. Speaking of her commitment to EMU, she said, "It's a great school and it's nice to know that the coaches recognize all the hard work that I put in the sport that I love."
Boerema, who is bound for Rockhurst University, currently plays as outfielder for LWC softball. Considering her post-high school destination, she said, "It's a relief to know that all the hard work and dedication of the past seven years has paid off. It's an honor to be playing at the collegiate level."
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