Katie Hart was all smiles. With good reason. She was sitting at a table between her two best friends-Kelly Burns and Molly Meegan-as all three Mt. St. Mary senior student-athletes were officially signing their Letters of Intent to play college sports on Wednesday, Nov.16.
All three girls wore ear-to-ear smiles as they realized a dream come true. Friends since Pre-K, the trio have been by each others side through every imaginable phase of life. That friendship was a big part of getting all three of them to this day.
Realizing that they would be going their separate ways after graduation, the emotion of knowing her day-to-day interactions with Molly and Kelly would not be the same hit Katie hard.
“It’s been really important. It’s been really special. I think we really push each other,” Katie Hart said, as she paused to fight back the tears.
“It’s gonna be hard to leave them, but I can’t wait to play against Molly.”
Signing in the Wellness Center inside Mt. St. Mary, the impact of these young ladies as people as well as athletes was evident as they were greeted by a room filled with family, friends, classmates, teammates and school administration who all came to give their well wishes.
Burns signed with DI Canisius College where she will swim. Hart and Meegan will both be continuing their lacrosse careers as Hart has signed with DII Slippery Rock and Meegan will head for DII Mercyhurst, where she will rejoin her sister and former Mount teammate, Catherine, who is in her second year at Mercyhurst.
“It feels great. I’m really excited,” said Molly Meegan, who sat in the exact same spot her sister did two years ago when she signed her Letter of Intent.
“And I’m really excited for (this) day because we’ve been together since day one. I think it’s a great experience for all of us.”
Three of the most accomplished Mount student-athletes ever, Burns, Hart and Meegan all have a long list of accolades from the playing field.
Burns, who will be in Ithaca this weekend for the NYSCHSAA swim meet, holds several Thunder records in the pool and was honored with the Natalie Lewis Award as MVP of the All-Catholic meet.
Hart is not only a three-sport athlete, she is a three-season champion as she helped the Mount soccer, lacrosse and basketball teams all win playoff championships.
“I really liked the campus. It just felt like another home,” Hart said of Slippery Rock.
“A lot of the girls were really supportive and I felt like I knew them for a while, even though I just met them. It was kind of like my teammates at Mount. So it just kind of clicked for me.”
A two-sport champion, Meegan was also a key part of the Thunder lax team that won the 2015 All-Catholic championship.
Interestingly enough though, basketball is not the main sport for any of them. It was on the court that all three have perhaps their greatest bond and high school memory as they helped Mt. St. Mary capture the New York State Catholic High School Athletic Association Class B championship. The program’s first-ever state title.
While the athletic achievements are certainly something to take pride in, at the end of the day, the only thing that mattered to all three was the way they grew as friends throughout the journey.
“It means so much,” Kelly Burns said. “We’ve been together since day one. To be able to come to this point in our careers is just amazing.”
From jokes that Burns stayed local to avoid doing her own laundry to Hart and Meegan eagerly looking forward to the first time Slippery Rock plays Mercyhurst, all three agreed that the reason this life-long journey has been so memorable is because they’ve shared it together, as sisters.
“We talked about Mount when we were at St. Amelia’s,” Meegan said. “Now we’re talking about this. So it’s crazy how fast time goes.”