Manatee County athletes sign college letters

Herald Staff WritersNovember 17, 2010 

Two of the area’s top tennis players signed letters-of-intent Tuesday, with Bradenton Christian’s Dominic Cotrone choosing Florida State and Manatee’s Carolyn Chupa accepting an offer from Indiana.

Cotrone, The Herald’s Boys Tennis Player of the Year last season, won the Class 1A individual singles title last spring for the Panthers. He also teamed with Nathan Price to reach the individual doubles finals.

“Me and my coach went to five schools, and Florida State was my No.1 choice,” Cotrone said. “They really made it seem like I was needed, that I was going to be a big asset to the team.

“It was really cool.”

Cotrone was also considering Louisville and Illinois.

Cotrone’s brother, David, plays for Flagler College and is a junior.

It’s the second straight signing for the Chupa family after Carolyn’s older sister, Mary, signed with West Virginia last year.

Carolyn and Mary teamed to win the Class 4A individual doubles title last year.

Angela Chupa, Carolyn and Mary’s older sister, plays for Wisconsin, where she is a junior.

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Swimmer Ashley Reid has verbally committed to North Carolina State and will sign with the Wolfpack on Friday, said Mustangs coach Maureen Reid.

Reid was The Herald’s Girls Swimmer of the Year last year and was huge this fall for the Mustangs, who finished third at the Class 2A state swimming and diving championships.

Reid was second in the state in the 200-yard individual medley and fifth in the 100 backstroke. She also swam a leg on the Mustangs’ 200 medley relay team (fourth) and the 400 relay team (third).

Former Mustangs golfer Ericka Schneider put ink to paper for her future collegiate career.

Schneider, a sophomore at Daytona State, helped the Falcons win the JUCO National Championship last season.

On Saturday, Schneider signed with Ole Miss to continue her golf game at the Division I level.

BRADEN RIVER -- Kristin Swindell’s decision to take her golf game to Florida Gulf Coast University came down to one integral component – the Professional Golf Management program.

“I want to do that when I go to school, so I chose to go there,” Swindell said. “And only like 15 schools in the country, or something like that, have it. I really like the girls, and the school’s new and the coach is really amazing so altogether it was a good choice.”

Swindell said she wants to play on the LPGA Tour following college, but if it doesn’t work out then the PGM will keep her involved in the golf business – something she said she wants to stay in.

Swindell, an accurate ball-striker, capped her high school career earlier this fall with a trip to the state tournament as an individual.

She shot 79-77 for a 13th place finish at the girls Class 2A finals at the Golden Hills Golf and Turf Club in Ocala.

STATE COLLEGE OF FLORIDA -- Volleyball coach Carmine Garofalo announced that the Manatees have signed Port Charlotte’s Kierston Smith.

Smith is SCF’s first recruit for the 2011 season.

Smith is a 6-foot setter.

“She is a talented setter with a good serve and court sense,” Garofalo said.

The Manatees went 37-7 this year, winning the Suncoast Conference and finishing third at the FCCAA State Volleyball Tournament.

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