By Ryan Kaczmarski
Every spring, in recent memory, Westlake High School has had so many student-athletes sign to play college sports that it has dedicated a special assembly to recognize these seniors. This spring was no different, as 13 Demons are continuing their academic and athletic careers at the next level.
While not all the student athletes have received athletic scholarships, they all deserve recognition for taking their individual skills and having the opportunity to apply them to the level of college athletics.
Jamie Lackner will play baseball for the Scots of The College of Wooster. He was a three-sport letterman this past year, lettering in baseball, soccer and basketball. He was the captain for the varsity basketball and baseball teams and was named first team All-Southwestern Conference as a goalkeeper for the regional soccer finalist Demons. Lackner was also named as an honorable mention All-SWC basketball performer and has been All-SWC in baseball. He is also a member of the National Honor Society as well a Leadership Challenge volunteer. He intends to study business and economics.
Maggie Zimmerman will play basketball for the Gators of Allegheny College. She was a three-year varsity starter and was a captain her senior year. Zimmerman was named as a second team All-SWC performer both as a junior and senior, and was an honorable mention selection as a sophomore. She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been on the honor roll. At this time she is undecided on a major.
Bryan Mackenzie will play basketball for the Otterbein University Cardinals. He was a first team All-SWC selection in football and was second team All-SWC in basketball both as a junior and senior. He was also an honorable mention All-District player this past season. He is undecided on a major.
Nick Wertman will join the Oberlin College Yeomen soccer team. He will graduate summa cum laude and is a member of the National Honor Society and the United States Achievement Academy. Wertman was named as the SWC Player of the Year and first team All-SWC. He was a Greater Cleveland first team selection and second team All-Ohio, as well as an All-Ohio Academic. His teams were two-time regional finalists. Wertman has also received the OHSAA Archie Griffin Award, which is presented each year to student-athletes who have been outstanding in their efforts to promote sportsmanship in their school and community. He has been active in helping with Westlake youth soccer and participated in the Leadership Challenge. He is undecided about a major at this time.
Alex Massaad will play football for Heidelberg University. While at Westlake High School, he was a member of the National Honor Society and a member of concert band. He was voted as the Most Improved Player for the Demons varsity football team. At this time, he is undecided on a major.
Ciara Zale will play softball for Cuyahoga Community College. While at Westlake, she was a four-year member of the softball team and two-year member of the volleyball team. She will be pursuing an associate degree in health and physical education while playing softball for the Challengers.
Danny Strodtbeck will join the Heidelberg University baseball program in the fall. While at Westlake, he has played three sports for four years, earning eight varsity letters in those sports (football, basketball and baseball). He was named first team All-SWC in both baseball and football, and was an honorable mention SWC performer in basketball. He will major in sports administration.
Alexis Tamas will join the Eastern Michigan University rowing team. She is a four-year varsity rower for the Cleveland Scholastic Rowing Association, and was named as a captain for her senior season. Tamas will study business at EMU.
Rachel Collins will play basketball at The College of Wooster. She was a three-sport athlete while at Westlake, participating and excelling in basketball, cross country and track. Rachel will graduate summa cum laude with an honors diploma. She earned seven career varsity letters and was named as a Greater Cleveland All-Star in basketball. She earned the Hustle Award for the Lady Demon basketball program and was named as the Most Improved Runner for the cross country team. Collins also won the National Federation of High Schools National Award of Excellence, which is given to student-athletes who have displayed exemplary sportsmanship, ethics and integrity. She plans to major in chemistry.
Ishmael Shafei will join the Fighting Muskie football program at Muskingum University. He came into his own this season by becoming a first team All-SWC performer in football and second team All-SWC in wrestling. He was also a wrestling sectional runner-up. He is undecided about his major at this time.
Nora Lee will attend Williams College and join the swimming program. While at Westlake, she participated and earned nine varsity letters in swimming, cross country and track and field. She is a National Merit Finalist, a member of National Honor Society and was recently named as an Academic All-American in swimming. Lee was a state qualifier in swimming in 2011. She is undecided about her major.
Mackenzie Smith will be playing softball for the Yellowjackets of Waynesburg University. She was a member of the Demons volleyball team for four years, the basketball team for two years and the softball team for four years. Smith is a member of National Honor Society and received a honors diploma. She plans on majoring in nursing.
Andrew Kettel will join the Cuyahoga Community College Challenger baseball team. He has lettered in both football and baseball and was a member of the SWC Championship football team this past fall, playing a key role in some of the late-season games. He is undecided about a college major.