College signings — Joliet Catholic athletes make their choices official
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org February 6, 2013 5:34PM
Updated: February 6, 2013 7:27PM
While Ty Isaac’s signing with the University of Southern California was the headliner at Joliet Catholic Academy’s national letter-of-intent signing ceremony Wednesday, other athletes at the school shared the spotlight.
Soccer player Rachel Zampa cast her lot with Northwestern University, while three football players in addition to Isaac signed.
Tyler Reitz, who joined Isaac at running back for the Hilltoppers, will play for Siena Heights, an NAIA school in Adrian, Mich. Defensive back Keith Craig is moving on to NCAA Division II Quincy, while long snapper Cody Crater will play at South Dakota School of Mines, which will enter its first season as a full-fledged Divison II member.
“I’m happy. I can focus on playing my last season here now,” Zampa said. “They said I’ll be playing mostly defensive middle, which is fine with me. That’s what I play here now.”
“I knew the first time I saw her that she was a gifted soccer player,” said Joliet Catholic coach Oscar Valdez, who indicated Zampa is capable of playing any position on the field. “Every teammate she has had will tell you she is an amazing athlete and person.”
Zampa said she will major in economics and is planning on getting her certificate in business.
“It will be tough, but if I can do it, that would be great,” she said.
Reitz, who battled through injuries to have a strong senior season, is headed to a relatively new program at Siena Heights and is going in with a shot at playing immediately.
“This is their third recruiting class and last year was their first actual season,” he said. “They tell me the running back spot is wide open, and they want me to fight for it.”
“They want to build a program, and Tyler is a great person to build around,” Hilltoppers coach Dan Sharp said. “He gave us a tremendous year, and I know the coach there is truly excited to be getting him.”
Reitz said he is interested in a career in physical therapy. “Gary Gray is a guy big in physical therapy up there, and that’s why I am going into,” he said.
Craig, who also plays basketball for the Hilltoppers, considered Indianapolis and Augustana (S.D.) before settling on Quincy.
“I went for a visit and it was a great fit,” he said. “I pretty much started thinking about playing college football when I got on the varsity here and the coaches told me they thought I had that potential.”
“Keith had a tremendous year,” Sharp said. “He had four interceptions and 45 tackles. He knew his skills and used them well.”
Crater, who will be a geology major, is a specialist as a long snapper.
“To get an athletic scholarship for long snapping is a great tribute to his skills,” Sharp said. “He was a good team player in games and in practice. He did anything we needed.”