NH's loaded Classes of 2017 has yet another scholarship player. Kaitlyn Petrocelli (Merrimack, NH), a 6-foot-2 face-up forward from the New Hampton School has committed to Saint Anselm College in Manchester.
"I was also considering Assumption and Franklin Pierce" Petrocelli told the NH Notebook. "I chose Saint A's because of the campus, coaches, and the team. I love coach Plant's coaching style and how she pushes her players to be the best they can be. When I was on my official the team made me feel very comfortable and I always felt included. I feel that I will get along with them on and off the court."
Petrocelli had to overcome a major obstacle in order to get to this point.
"My recruiting process was extremely stressful due to the fact that I tore my ACL junior year which prevented me from finishing the majority of the season and my last AAU season" explained Petrocelli. "I had a lot of interest but most of it went away when I was injured and not playing for 10 months."
Being able to come back from such a difficult injury is a testament to the determination and resiliency of Petrocelli.
This commitment continues a trend we've seen, especially in recent years, of Saint A's recruiting local talent. Ali Glennon (Bedford, NH) and Clairee Putnam (Windham, NH) are both juniors on the Hawks team, while Sara Messler (Durham, NH) is a freshman forward. From the Class of 2017, in addition to bringing in Petrocelli the Hawks have also added Jenoyce Laniyan (Bedford, NH) to their latest recruiting class.
"That is a coincidence, Jenoyce and I played some tournaments together when we were both on the Crusaders" pointed out Petrocelli. "I am excited to be able to play again with her for the next four years."
There are many advantages with Saint A's recruiting local talent, including the fact that often times the player experiences a higher level of comfort from going to college closer to home.
"Being able to stay close to home wasn't a huge factor until I realized that I had already had my time to be away for four years while being a boarding student at New Hampton" said Petrocelli, the grand-daughter of former Boston Red Sox great Rico Petrocelli. "I'm so excited to be so close to home so that my friends and family can come to my games and not have to travel more than 10 miles."
Here at the NH Notebook, we've written a lot over the years about various athletes going to prep school, how that path compares with the NHIAA schools. Petrocelli has done both, and she is clearly in favor of the prep school route.
"My experience at New Hampton is something I will never forget" Petrocelli concluded. "Leaving this school will be extremely hard. The level of discipline on the court and in the classroom was significantly higher at New Hampton compared to Merrimack. I had so many people pushing me out of my comfort zone so that I could grow as a person and player. Being able to have more one on one help with your teachers helps you to advance more in the classroom. In athletics I am surrounded by trainers and coaches who have played basketball at division 1 and even professional levels, so they know how to push you to become the best player that you can be. The expectations and level of discipline is high which I think will make my transition to playing at the college level more smooth."
A good kid, a talented player overcomes a major obstacle and in the end takes a giant step towards achieving her goal of playing college basketball.