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College programs recognize Norwin's talent

| Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011

The 2012 baseball season is still months away, but a handful of Norwin's top players have already set their plans for 2013.

Four Norwin baseball seniors — pitcher Nick Cubarney, catcher Max McDowell, second baseman Cam Onderko and outfielder Tommy Quealy — will send their letters of intent to Division I colleges tomorrow, the first day of the signing period,. A fifth senior, third baseman Nick Kolat, will pass on the chance to play Division I ball by committing to Division III Washington & Jefferson.

The wealth of talent on the Norwin team was apparent last season, when the Knights went 17-1. This spring, the team hopes to contend for a WPIAL title with a talent-laden lineup, at least two-thirds of which is made up of future college players — the five seniors and junior Jake Pribanic, who has verbally committed to Penn State.

"You don't see many teams that have six kids (with offers) from Division I schools when you look across the league," Cubarney said. "It's pretty cool to have a bunch of best friends together, playing baseball and getting scholarships. We have a lot of fun, and we'll have a good season this year, hopefully."

The four Division I players are headed to four separate schools in four different conferences, but all will stay in the northeast.

Cubarney will pitch for Northeastern in the Colonial Athletic Association; Onderko will head to Delaware State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; Quealy is going to Mt. St. Mary's of the Northeast Conference; and McDowell is signing with Connecticut, a member of the Big East, at least for now.

"Right now, that's all up in the air," McDowell said of his future school's conference membership. "The (UConn) coaches are firm believers that they're going to end up in the (Atlantic Coast Conference), whether it's next year or a couple years down the road.

"For me, I love the coaches and the players up there. Either way, with the conference realignment, it's going to end up as a better baseball conference for me to play in."

While all of those Norwin seniors will be headed to separate destinations for college, their shared focus in the near future is on a deep playoff run for the Knights in 2012.

"What we have coming back in baseball is something we all talk about and look forward to," Quealy said. "We've all signed to go to different colleges, which makes us happy. We know what we have here. We just have to work hard and do what we can in the spring."

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