Vineyard high school athletes ink college deals

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Emily Turney, left, who will play softball at Adelphi, and Belle Dinning, who will play field hockey at Assumption, showed off their signed letters of commitment at a ceremony in the high school gym last Thursday. - Photo by Jessica Sonia

Three Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) seniors last week signed letters of scholarship commitment to Division 2 colleges, capping four years of athletic and academic high school success.

Emily Turney will play softball at Adelphi University on Long Island, N.Y. Belle Dinning has signed with Assumption College in Worcester. Senior MVRHS soccer standout Jason Lages has also signed with Assumption College. Both schools are highly ranked academically in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings and both are members of the Northeast-10 conference.

Scholarship recruitment of three MVRHS athletes from the same class is unusual. “It is uncommon to have three kids recruited for athletic scholarships, though we generally have one,” Donald Herman, MVRHS softball coach, said. 

“These kids have really earned their places,” Coach Herman said. “College coaches look for skills, obviously, but commitment and drive are essential. College athletics is about conditioning these days, so kids have to be willing to hit the weight room and workout regimens. These kids have shown the commitment necessary to compete at the college level.

“Emily and her folks have put the time in for travel teams, clinics, and coaches every summer. Emily played Little League baseball — no Island softball program then — and went to tryouts off-Island for travel teams. Beginning in her freshman year, she has been a three-time EAC all-star, and she will be again in her senior year,” Coach Herman said.

Ms. Dinning is an MVRHS three-sport athlete, captaining women’s ice hockey, lacrosse, and field hockey teams. “Again, I had Belle in Phys Ed class, and I could see her work ethic and the improvements she made as a result,” Coach Herman said.

Mr. Lages holds MVRHS scoring records, and has been named to the Boston Herald All Scholastic Boys Soccer Team.

This is a fertile time for Vineyard athletes to play at the next level. For example, former teammates Callie Jackson (MVRHS 2014), at Nichols College, and Aubrey Ashmun (2015), now at Holy Cross, faced off against each other in ice hockey this season. Tyson Araujo (2014), ice hockey state scoring champ in his 2014 senior year, has inked a commitment to play college hockey at Nazareth College in Pennsylvania.

At the professional level, record-setting MVRHS gridder Randall Jette (2010), a standout defensive back for Division 1 UMass, is likely to be in an NFL camp this summer with an opportunity to become the third Vineyarder to play pro ball in recent years, joining 2009 grad Mike McCarthy (European Football League) and Tad Gold (2010), playing minor league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles.

Mr. McCarthy set new records for quarterback play at Bridgewater State University, where is he now coaching, and Mr. Gold was the Division 3 national baseball player of the year at Endicott College in 2014.