Seventeen Marist High School seniors participated in a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony on Wednesday, November 14 in the school’s RedHawk Theater. The event confirmed their plans to continue their academic and athletic careers at the college level.
Wrestler Michael Leveille will continue his career at Purdue University. Leveille was all-state at 106 lbs. last year as a junior and is now the third Leveille brother from Marist’s program to wrestle in college. He is a two-time captain of the Marist wrestling program and an East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) champion as well.
Swimmer Molly Sullivan will attend St. Ambrose University. Sullivan holds Marist school records in the 50 freestyle, 500 freestyle, the 100 breaststroke, and as a member of the 200 medley relay team. She was also a team captain her senior season. While at Marist, she also competed with the Chicago WolfPack Aquatic Club.
Two members of the volleyball team participated in the ceremony. Katie Mather will head to Loyola University Chicago next fall. A three-year varsity player, Mather is a two-time state champ and two-time ESCC champ. She received ESCC honors, was an all-state and all-area candidate, and the Wheaton Classic MVP. She finished the 2018 season with 979 assists, 53 kills, 189 digs, and 41 aces.
Teammate Mattie McCabe will take her talent to Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. McCabe was a 2018 team captain and is a two-time state and two-time ESCC champion. She received ESCC honors and was an all-state and all-area candidate. She was all-tournament in the Plainfield North Invite and finished the 2018 season with 178 kills and 81 blocks.
Six members of the softball team signed. Jessica Balich will attend and play for Iowa State University. Balich is a three-year varsity team member. She has played both second base and outfield for the RedHawks. In 2018, she was a huge part of the RedHawk offense with 41 RBIs and 40 runs scored. Balich earned Illinois all-state status in 2018.
Madison Garofalo is headed for the University of Wisconsin—Platteville. A three-year varsity team member, she has a career batting average of .424 and is a standout defensive first baseman. In 2017, Madison was an all-conference player and earned Southtown all-area honors.
Cassie Lindmark will continue her career at the University of Kentucky. She has been the varsity catcher since her freshman year. She is a standout defensive player, handling multiple pitchers. She has a career batting average of .426. Cassie is a two-time all-conference player, and has also earned Illinois all-state and all-area honors.
Lexi Voss had a stellar junior season and will head to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor next fall. Voss hit .644, including 76 hits, 70 RBIs, and 19 homeruns. She was the ESCC player of the year, Southtown player of the year, was named first team all-state, first team Flo Softball all-America, and first team Max Preps all-America.
Kelly Walinski has been on the Marist varsity team for one season and made an immediate impact. She will attend Northern Illinois University in the fall. Last year, Walinski was all-conference, all-state, and all-area. She is a strong infielder who played third base for the RedHawks.
Angela Zedak will attend and play for Northwestern University. She has been a key player on the varsity team since her freshman year. She has a career batting average of .489, has hit 37 home runs, and won 36 games as a pitcher for the RedHawks. She is a three-year all-conference player, including ESCC player of the year in 2017, two-time first team all-state, and earned all-American status from both Flo Softball and Max Preps in 2018.
Six members of the school’s baseball team also signed. Jack Brannigan will continue his career at the University of Notre Dame. Brannigan is a four-year varsity player. He has played shortstop, centerfield, and pitcher over the past three seasons. Going into the 2019 season, he has posted career numbers of 57 hits, 36 RBIs, and 31 stolen bases. He has also pitched 34 innings and has recorded 50 strikeouts. Brannigan is an outstanding defensive player, as he was chosen ESCC all-conference in 2018 along with being named defensive player of the year by the ESCC coaches following the 2018 season.
Kendal Ewell signed with Eastern Kentucky University. According to Marist coach Kevin Sefcik, Ewell has the rawest hitting power of anyone he has seen at the high school level. The 2019 season will be his third at the varsity level. His career numbers to date are a .309 batting average and 13 extra base hits, including four homeruns and 22 RBIs. He was an ESCC all-conference player in 2018. He will play outfield and first base for the RedHawks in 2019.
Jason Hodges is a four-year varsity player who will continue his career at the University of Arkansas. Hodges has been a main stay in right field for the RedHawks. Through the 2018 season he has a .316 career average, 68 hits, 32 extra base hits--including seven home runs, 61 RBIs, and 52 runs scored. After the 2018 season he was chosen ESCC all-conference and the ESCC offensive player of the year. He was also chosen first team all-area by the Southtown.
Justin Janas will attend and play for the University Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A four-year varsity player, he has been hitting in the middle of the RedHawk lineup since freshman year. Janas has also done an outstanding job at first base and also became the ace of the pitching staff in 2018. In his career, he has an average of .311 with 25 extra base hits. He has driven in 72 runs and scored 57. On the mound in 2018, Janas was 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in 43 innings. He was selected as an ESCC all-conference player in 2017 and 2018. He was also a 2018 Southtown honorable mention all-area selection.
Max Malley will take his talent to the University of Evansville in Indiana. He is the most versatile player on the RedHawk roster, and has played every position except first base in his four years on varsity. His main position is catcher, but he has always been willing to play different positions to help the team in any way he can. Malley was a 2018 ESCC all-conference selection. To date, Malley has 25 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, and 46 runs scored.
Wendell Smith will attend and play for Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. Smith will be a two-year varsity player in 2019. Wendell made appearances at third base in 2018. In 2019, Wendell will be asked to make an impact on the mound. Coach Sefcik is hoping that he can find his way into the rotation and be a senior leader on the pitching staff.
Maria Castaldo has been playing soccer since the age of eight and will continue do so at the University of Tennessee—Martin. During her junior year of high school, Maria began playing with Chicago Inter Soccer Club which is currently ranked fourth in state of Illinois.
More commitments are expected as the school year continues. Marist is a member of the competitive East Suburban Catholic Conference and its athletes and teams regularly garner success at the local and state levels.
Seated from left: Lexi Voss (softball, University of Michigan), Michael Leveille (wrestling, Purdue University), Justin Janas (baseball, University of Illinois at Urbana), Katie Mather (volleyball, Loyola University Chicago) Standing from left: Molly Sullivan (swimming, St. Ambrose), Cassie Lindmark (softball, University of Kentucky), Maria Castaldo (soccer, University of Tennessee-Martin), Angela Zedak (softball, Northwestern University), Jessica Balich (softball, Iowa State University), Madison Garofalo (softball, University of Wisconsin—Platteville), Kelly Walinski (softball, Northern Illinois University), Mattie McCabe (volleyball, Grand Valley State University), Max Malley (baseball, University of Evansville), Jack Brannigan (baseball, University of Notre Dame), Wendell Smith (baseball, Morehouse College), Jason Hodges (baseball, University of Arkansas), and Kendall Ewell (baseball, Eastern Kentucky University)