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Dietrich, Schrader, Mengel go D2

It wasn’t too long ago that Haley Dietrich thought she would be attending college close to home. But nearly a month ago, her college plans changed drastically.

Dietrich signed a letter of intent to play field hockey at Division II Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina last Wednesday at a ceremony at Northwestern High School. She was one of three Division II signees and 11 Tigers overall that will continue their athletic careers at the next level.

“I was planning on going closer to home just because of my parents and everything,” Dietrich said. “But then when they contacted me and we went and visited it, I was like, ‘OK, this is where I want to be.’”

Shortly before that visit, Belmont Abbey contacted Dietrich in February after playing in a tournament with her club team Marojoka. Once the visit was over, there was no question where she wanted to spend the next four years of her life.

“I chose Belmont because it’s a small, nice school right outside of Charlotte, NC,” Dietrich said. “It just felt like home.”

Dietrich had goals of playing field hockey in college ever since her middle school years. And watching family members play college on that stage only fueled her fire to join that company.

A number of years later, she’s well on her way to making a name for herself.

“Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to play college sports because all of my cousins have,” said Dietrich, who had interest from a number of Division III and another Division II school. “When I found field hockey, I really wanted to play college and I worked for it.”

Dietrich plans to major in biology and pursue a master’s degree in occupational therapy.

Brandon Schrader, a member of Northwestern’s football team, is another Division II recruit. He’ll be joining Alderson Broaduss University in West Virginia to continue his career on the gridiron.

“Getting a chance to play college football at any level is a really big honor, but especially at the Division II level it is pretty awesome,” said Schrader. “I can’t wait to get on the field.”

Schools started contacting Schrader at the beginning of his senior season. Alderson Broaduss was one of the first. And after weeks of sending his highlights back, with critique from the school’s coaches offered after each week, his dream of playing Division II became a reality.

Schrader also considered Lebanon Valley College and Lycoming College, both Division III institutions.

His career route is a unique one as well. The future Battler wants to major in criminal justice and pursue a minor in athletic coaching.

“I want to go to the state police academy,” Schrader said. “It’s hard to see myself never not being a part of football. I kind of want to have that so if I ever wanted to coach I could.”

Mengel garnered plenty of interest for his play on the diamond, including Lehigh University, Monmouth University, Stony Brook University and Binghamton University. But his final decision between Maryland Eastern Shore and Mansfield was the toughest.

“I went up to the campus and I thought I fit in well,” Mengel said. “Basically that’s when I knew that I wanted to attend Mansfield. Those guys are a tight-knit group, and they do a lot of hunting and fishing, which I love doing that.

“I’ve worked my whole life to try and achieve this goal and it’s finally here. It’s an overwhelming experience. Everyone is here-your parents, family members, coaches and friends.”

His college dreams began right before his teenage years during his time playing travel ball under his father at Lehigh Valley Stealth. As he’s ready to say bye to his teenage days in the near future, he says hello to college baseball.

Mengel will major in education and plans to teach history one day.

PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZHaley Dietrich, accompanied by parents Karen and Randy, signed a college letter of intent to play field hockey at Division II Belmont Abbey.