QUEENSBURY — The thank-yous during Wednesday’s athletic signing ceremony at Queensbury High School followed predictable lines, except for Devin O’Leary.
In addition to recognizing parents and coaches, O’Leary — bound for Division I Stony Brook’s men’s lacrosse team — thanked teammate James Conway, who was sitting next to him and signing with Division II Franklin Pierce, for getting him involved with lacrosse.
“Well, in seventh grade, I told Devin how good he could be in lacrosse, and I really wanted him to play with me on the team,” Conway said. “We were just playing around in the backyard, and he liked it and joined that year, and he’s stuck with it ever since.”
The two boys lacrosse players were part of six Queensbury senior athletes signing partial athletic scholarships to attend universities. Also taking part in the ceremony were girls lacrosse players Devon Bolen, Caitlin Bolen and Natasha Rahal, as well as track and field athlete Emma Hayes. The Bolen sisters are attending Bryant University, Rahal is attending Binghamton University and Hayes is attending College of the Holy Cross.
Hayes also had some specific thanks to give, including to her parents “for having me visit as many colleges as I could,” and for track and field assistant coach Pete Crotty for introducing her to the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and teaching her “to never settle.”
Hayes, a first-team All-Foothills Council selection at the 400 hurdles last spring, said she also considered Colgate and Lehigh, but chose Holy Cross because she liked its combination of high-level academics and athletics the best.
“I will mostly be running the 400 hurdles and the 400, but I can move down if they need me, but I can also run longer distance events with my cross country background,” Hayes said.
Hayes finished third in the 400 hurdles in the Section II Group 1 meet.
Conway and O’Leary were first-team All-Foothills Council selections last spring, at midfield and defense, respectively. O’Leary is the first Queensbury defenseman to sign with a Division I school.
Queensbury’s girls lacrosse program has sent a good number of players on to Division I colleges, with Rahal and the Bolens the latest ones. Rahal, who verbally committed to Binghamton a year ago, was a second-team All-Foothills Council midfielder as a junior. Devon and Caitlin Bolen also were second-team all-stars in the Foothills, Devon at midfield and Caitlin at attack.
All three girls lacrosse players thanked Queensbury coach Dave Huth and their ADK Lacrosse club coaches Greg Giombetti and Bill White. Caitlin Bolen said White got her into lacrosse as a first-grader.
“I wouldn’t be here without him,” she said.