WALLINGFORD — Monday was Lyman Hall’s turn in the college signing spotlight. A trio of Division I athletes and a multi-sport stalwart announced their college selections in a ceremony in the school’s cafeteria.
Flame-throwing ace Colin Blake and swimmers Casey Loughlin and Faith Gambardella inked D-I offers. Volleyball and basketball player Hailey Bruneau will be playing Division III hoops.
Blake, an All-State right-hander, signed his National Letter of Intent to the University of Hartford.
Loughlin and Gambardella, who both swim for the Cheshire Sea Dogs and not the school team, will be heading to Penn State and Bryant, respectively.
Bruneau will be playing at the University of Rochester.
Bruneau is a three-year starter on the basketball court for the Trojans. She also plays basketball in the offseason with the CT Starters AAU team.
Bruneau intends to study biology at the New York school.
“I really liked the atmosphere at Rochester when I went for my overnight and I liked the girls on the team. I’m looking to contribute right away,” Bruneau said. “This was always a goal of mine to play college basketball and this is like a dream come true.”
Blake is coming off a strong junior campaign in which he went 5-4 in nine starts with a 3.00 ERA. The hurler worked 53 innings and struck out 58 while walking just 12. He’s been a starting pitcher for the Trojans since his sophomore campaign.
Blake also plays travel ball with the CT Bombers out of Hamden. Blake picked up velocity in his fastball and now sits in the high 80s and low 90s. He also throws a curve, changeup and slider.
“I’m more of a power pitcher,” Blake said. “I like to use my fastball.”
Blake is going to Hartford on a partial scholarship. He’ll study either business or physical therapy.
“It feels great,” Blake said. “I’ve been working so hard my entire life for this. It’s a big sigh of relief.”
Blake said the University of Hartford has been interested in him from the beginning and he said he thought it was the right choice.
Blake has also been in touch with MLB scouts from the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres organizations. Should he get drafted in June, Blake said he would have a big decision to make.
“That’s the dream,” Blake said. “It’s like a kid’s dream when you are growing up. For me to be this close is unreal.”
Loughlin is off to Penn State. She swam her freshman year at Lyman Hall, but has competed with the Sea Dogs the past three fall seasons.
Loughlin said she had big improvements in the pool in her junior year and she’s happy to be swimming at the Division I level on a partial scholarship.
“I visited unofficially in June and I got to meet the team,” Loughlin said. “I went for an official visit in September. It was everything that I was looking for.”
Loughlin is undecided on a major at the moment, but is interested in studying sports medicine or sports psychology.
“I’m a driven swimmer and athlete overall,” Loughlin said. “In the past, I would have a tough time dealing with disappointment. I do this year round, every day for three hours. Over the years, I’ve learned how to deal with it and everything happens for a reason. I go into every day with a good mindset.”
Loughlin’s best discipline in the pool is the backstroke, but she also likes the longer distance fly and IM events.
Gambardella is off D-I Bryant University and her forte is the 500 freestyle. She has been with the Sea Dogs since she was in seventh grade. She swam with Lyman Hall for three years.
Gambardella received a partial scholarship from the Rhode Island school and she hopes to study business or marketing.
“I liked the small community atmosphere,” Gambardella said. “Everyone seemed to know each other and everyone was friendly. The swim team was very welcoming. I knew from the moment I stepped on the campus that I wanted to go there.”
She had a big smile as she signed her National Letter of Intent on Monday.
“This means that all of the hard work that I’ve put in over the last 11 years has paid off,” Gambardella said. “I knew since I was 10 that I wanted to swim in college and this was a dream come true.”
Gambardella also swims all year.
“You have to make a lot of sacrifices,” Gambardella said. “You definitely don’t have a social life, but it’s definitely worth it.”