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Montrose Kayla Lilly ’13 signs National Letter of Intent to swim at University of Maryland.

Surrounded by cheering classmates and family, Kayla Lilly ’13 yesterday signed her National Letter of Intent to swim for the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Kayla’s signing ceremony took place in the cafeteria as Upper School lunch began, with her parents, brother and sister on hand to watch.  Mrs. Jodi Blackburn, Athletic Director, described Kayla’s hard work and many swimming accomplishments over the past years.    Kayla is ranked as one of the top six swimmers in the New England area, as well as a USA Scholastic All-American.

Mrs. Blackburn then read a message from Kayla’s future coach at UMBC, Chad Craddock.  Coach Craddock said, “We are extremely excited to have Kayla become a part of our Retriever family.  Our team is built up of great individuals who unite as one.  We know Kayla will be a fantastic addition to our swimming program and we look forward to four great years.”

Kayla’s fellow seniors began a chant of “Kayla!  Kayla!” as Director of College Counseling Mrs. Deborah Zatkowski ushered Kayla forward to sign the National Letter of Intent.  The seniors then enveloped her in a group hug.

Signing a National Letter of Intent places Kayla into an elite category of student athletes.  Only two percent of student athletes nationwide sign a letter of intent to play sports at the collegiate level in Division 1 or Division 2 of the NCAA.  By signing, Kayla is assured of an athletic scholarship as a member of the UMBC Retrievers swim team.

Kayla is the third Montrose student to go on to compete in athletics at the Division 1 level.  She follows Sarah Blahnik ’06, who played lacrosse at Stanford University, and Carey Irwin ’10, who plays lacrosse at Siena College.