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10 of Mt. Pleasant Area's finest commit to colleges

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Kelly Vernon | The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Mt. Pleasant Area athletes sign letters of intent recently in the school's library, including seniors Jordan Toohey and Luke Liprando. Pictured are (first row, from left) Liprando and Toohey; (second row) parents Tammy and Larry Liprando, football coach Bo Ruffner, soccer coach Josh Pajak and parents Jeanne and Paul Toohey.

It has been a very successful year for Mt. Pleasant Area sports, and 10 of the district's senior student-athletes will advance to play sports at multiple collegiate levels after recently signing letters of intent to accept athletic and academic scholarships.

Jordan Toohey will take her soccer talents to St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., an NCAA Division I school, where she will play forward.

Toohey was the leading scorer in the WPIAL this year with 45 goals, a new school record, and she has the most goals in a career at Mt. Pleasant Area with 143.

“Ever since the first time I went up there (St. Francis), I loved the campus, and it has a great business program,” Toohey said. “I also got to interact with the players, and they have such a close relationship with one another.”

Luke Liprando, who will take his football-playing abilities to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., which competes at the NCAA Division I-AA level, where he will play linebacker. Liprando is a three-year letterman for the Vikings. He carries a 4.1 GPA, and on the field he racked up 217 career tackles (44 for losses), two interceptions and 4 12 sacks for the Interstate Conference champion Vikings.

“The combination of Division I (-AA) football, and a world class education, is why I chose this great school,” Liprando said.

Also choosing Bucknell was Tyler Kolar, who will take his pole vaulting prowess to the school which competes at the NCAA Division I level in that sport. Kolar holds the Mt. Pleasant Area pole-vaulting record entering the 2014 track season at 14 feet, 6 inches.

“It's the right fit for me, and they have an excellent program with great tradition, but most importantly the schooling is top-notch,” Kolar said.

Record-setting running back Tyler Mellors will attend Ohio Dominican in Columbus, an NCAA Division II school, where he will carry on at that position and also at slot receiver.

Mellors holds every mark at Mt. Pleasant Area for rushing, including career rushing yards (4,179), rushing touchdowns (63) and total touchdowns (66).

“The (Ohio Dominican) campus is nice, the coaches are easy to get along with, and they have a winning program which is a plus,” Mellors said.

Vikings quarterback Ryan Gumbita who will take his arm to West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W.Va.

Gumbita — who carries a 3.3 GPA — will eventually take the reigns as signal-caller at the NCAA Division II school. He is expected to redshirt as a freshman.

He holds all the career passing records at Mt. Pleasant Area, including passing yards (2,035) and passing touchdowns (20).

“I felt comfortable with the coaches there, and I built a good relationship with them throughout the (recruiting) process,” Gumbita said.

Marcus Malara who will play tight end at West Liberty University in West Virginia, where the football team competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Mountain East Conference. A three-year letterman, Malara was known as a blocking tight end who finished his scholastic career with 12 catches for 153 yards and one touchdown.

”It's a great fit not only with the coaches, but with the players, too ... it felt like one big family,” said Malara, who carries a 3.7 GPA.

Swimmer Dylan Ringer will also attend West Virginia Wesleyan, where he will compete in NCAA Division II.

Ringer is a four-year letterman for Mt. Pleasant.

“I really liked the campus, and the people on the team,” Ringer said. “They are just like the ones I've swam with in high school.”

Paige Hertzog who will take her softball-playing talents to Seton Hill University in Greensburg, an NCAA Division II school. Hertzog is a two-year letterman for the Lady Vikings squad.

“I felt comfortable there, and I will be getting a great education,” Hertzog said.

Two Mt. Pleasant Area senior student-athletes remain uncommitted —Pierce Cook (football) and Mitch Matlas (baseball).

John Poole is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media. Editor Jason Black contributed to this report.