The only thing better than realizing a lifelong dream is sharing the moment with those that helped you reach your goal.
On March 8, eight Kenmore West student-athletes experienced the moment all student-athletes dream of when they all signed their National Letter’s of Intent to continue their athletic careers in college.
Hannah Gallivan signed to play soccer for Queens College. Ben Serrano and Kyle LaPlante will remain teammates as the two Blue Devils will be taking their baseball talents to Division I Niagara University. Soccer teammates Moamal Flayh and Joseph Patrick will also remain united as they will play for Daemen. Erriono Giardina will hit the gridiron for ECC. Ellie Fumerelle will play rugby for DI Lindenwood University and Olivia Smith, who holds every scoring record for the Kenmore/GI ice hockey team, will keep her talents local with DIII Buffalo State College.
With family members by their side, the eight student-athletes also took in a second take in the sight of a room full of classmates, friends and teammates who came to watch. Seeing so many people take the time to wish her well on this day was a humbling moment for Hannah Gallivan as she realized her peers view her as more than a good athlete. They see her as a good person and friend.
“It just shows me how many friendships and relationships I’ve built along the way playing sports,” Gallivan said.
Gallivan, a three-year varsity soccer player and member of all five Section VI titles in ice hockey, will be a business major at Queens College. A top international business school.
Smith, who was visibly emotional while signing, is the all-time points leader in Kenmore girls hockey with 136.
“I’m gonna miss playing for the Kenmore hockey team because we made so many memories together,” Smith said.
She helped the DevilDogs win five sectional title, a WNY Federation title and make four trips to the state tournament.
“The bigger the game, the bigger she played,” coach Jeff Orlowski said.
Smith turned down partial scholarship offers from a number of DI programs because of her desire to stay close to home.
Serrano, who also plays hockey and golf, is a National Technical Honor Society member. He is a four-year varsity starter on baseball who can play third, shortstop and outfield. Ben was co-captain of the Blue Devils hockey team that won the Federation Division IV title and reached the Section VI Small School title game on Super Monday.
One of the most accomplished and decorated members of the Kenmore rugby club, which is also merged team of West and East, Fumerelle has been a captain since sophomore year.
She will be headed to a program that is ranked second in the nation in Division I.
“I think it’s really special,” Fumerelle said. “A lot of people like Hannah, I’ve been going to school with since Kindergarten and I played soccer with her. I think Olivia played soccer, too. I’ve went to school with a lot of them since Kindergarten so it means a lot.”
Moamal Flayh won the Andrew Adams Scholarship and has been invited to tryout for F.C. Buffalo. He also plays rugby and runs track.
Joseph Patrick, according to Ken-West soccer coach Todd Marquardt, is an extremely hard working and respectful player on and off the field.
Giardina, who also runs track, was a three-year captain on football. A hard worker, team leader. He was nominated for the Beacon Award for respect/integrity. Erriono is also very committed to volunteer work in WNY.
The 5-foot-5, 130 pound Giardina was also name the Class AA North Co-Offensive player of the year.
The Blue Devils starting shortstop Kyle LaPlante, who also plays basketball and volleyball, is an IB student and has been in the Blue Devils baseball program since seventh grade.
“It’s really surreal,” LaPlante said. “I’m going to get to keep on living the (baseball) dream. Going on to the next level with one of my best friends. I think it’ll make us even closer and bond over college baseball and the work ethic we’re gonna have to put in. I think we’ll love it and it’ll make us closer.”