On Feb. 5, five Boardman senior athletes signed their National Letter of Intent for a Division I or II collegiate program. Under the direction of Coach John Phillips, cross country and track stand-outs Mark Hadley and Alan Burns signed for Division I schools. Under the direction of head coach Fawzi Mujahed and assistant coach Michelle Peters, soccer stand-outs Nikki Hillard, Jenna Kuczek and Bryana Flak signed for Division II schools.
By signing a National Letter of Intent, a prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the designated university for one year. An important provision of the National Letter of Intent program is a recruiting prohibition to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once a letter is signed with another institution.
Mark Hadley is the son of Darla and Scott Hadley and has signed with Furman University in South Carolina on a full athletic scholarship. Mark was the Division I state cross country champion at this year's state meet running 15:10. He was a three-time All-Ohioan and Academic All-Ohioan in cross country. In the Federal League, he was the cross country champion the past three years and the Federal League Athlete of the Year the last three years. The Vindicator named him the male cross country runner of the year the past two years. Most recently he was awarded the Gatorade Cross Country Runner of the Year for the state of Ohio and is now up for the Gatorade National Runner of the Year. In track, Mark was a two-time All-Ohioan and Academic All-Ohioan, the Federal League Athlete of the Year for two years, and All-Ohioan for indoor track for two years. He is the current school record holder in cross country, 1600, 3200, and distance medley relay team. Hadley will major in exercise science.
Photos by Jim McCreary, Town Crier
Five Boardman High School student athletes signed their National Letter of Intent, including Jenna Kuczek, Alderson Broaddus Soccer; Nikki Hillard, Wheeling Jesuit Soccer; Bryana Flak, Ursuline College Soccer; Mark Hadley, Furman Cross Country; and Alan Burns, Youngstown State Cross Country.
Alan Burns is the son of Anita and Bruce Burns and is headed to Youngstown State University for his athletic future in track and cross country. He has been a four-year letter winner in both sports and a two-time state qualifier in cross country. This year he earned All-Ohio first team honors and was named Academic All-Ohio. Burns has been First Team All-Federal League the past three years and all four years has been First Team All-County. In track, Burns has been Second Team Federal League the past two years, a regional qualifier all four years and a national qualifier to the outdoor track championships as well as the Footlocker Cross Country Championships. Burns has a 3.57 GPA and will study either engineering or business.
Nikki Hillard is the daughter of Deborah Mesnyak and Vincent Hillard and is headed to Wheeling Jesuit University. She has been a four-year varsity letter winner and has been a starting varsity player since her freshmen year. Nikki was selected three years in a row for First Team All District, First Team Federal League and First Team All-County. She has been playing soccer since the age of five playing on such teams as the Phoenix Soccer, Simon Futbol, and currently plays for Soccer Vision Academy. Nikki is also a four-year letter winner of the indoor and outdoor track teams. In school, Nikki holds a 3.5 GPA, is senior class vice president and a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to major in business management.
Jenna Kuczek is the daughter of Jeffery and Jennifer Kuczek and is headed to Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. Jenna is a four-year letter winner in soccer. In her junior year, she was ranked #1 in Ohio Division I for assists and #4 in Ohio in all divisions for assists. She received First Team All-District, Honorable Mention All-County, and Honorable Mention All-Federal League. Her senior year she returned from an ACL injury and only played half the season but still received Second Team All-Federal League honors. Jenna also received the DeBartolo Clear Channel Radio Student Athlete of the Week award in October. Jenna is a four-year letter winner in basketball, has a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to major in biology and go to medical school.
Bryana Flak is the daughter of Karie and Thomas Flak and is headed to Ursuline College in Ohio. She was a stand-out starting defender at Boardman High School while competing in soccer. She has played club soccer for Soccer Vision Academy. Bryana earned varsity letters and was named a team captain her senior year. She overcame an ACL knee injury her junior year and came back strong her senior year. She was awarded Division I All-District First Team and Second Team All-Federal League. She has earned team awards for most aggressive player and varsity defense. Bryana plans to major in nursing.
Kuczek, Hillard and Falk have been playing soccer together since they were five years old. At the Division II level, Jenna and Nikki will face each other in preseason play, and Jenna and Bryana will compete against each other in the regular season.