12 NCHS Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent To Play Sports in College 


NCHS seniors on National Letter of Intent Signing Day, Nov. 8, 2023. Sitting, L-R: Izzy Appelt, Reagan Quinn, Lexie Tully, Tema Wagner and Claire Pellegrino. Standing, L-R: Alex Benevento, Aidan Gray, Doster Crowell, Dillon Stephens and Ned Smith. Credit: Michael Dinan

Twelve New Canaan High School seniors on Wednesday signed commitment or “likely” letters to play sports in college starting next year. 

NCHS Athletic Director Jay Egan said during the school’s annual ceremony for the student-athletes that “it’s important for you to realize what you’ve accomplished and the people who have helped you—your parents, your coaches, anybody else who has supported you.”

“And most importantly, the things that you have sacrificed in order to get where you are,” Egan said as the ceremony got underway in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “So I think today is the day for that type of reflection. I’d also like to add, from New Canaan High School Athletics, for those of you that played multiple sports and if you haven’t played multiple sports, we really appreciate all that you have given to New Canaan High School Athletics. It really makes our program what it is, that you’re selfless in giving your time and effort.”

Friends and family attended the ceremony, where the student-athletes posed for photos and received a pen to mark the day. 

We asked the student-athletes why they chose their future schools, and put their responses next to photos where provided. Please note that two seniors, Kathryn Norton (Dartmouth, lacrosse) and Devon Russell (Boston College, lacrosse) had photos taken early so they could board the bus with the NCHS Girls Soccer team, which advanced in the state playoffs. Their photos are here (post continues below):

National Letter of Intent Signing Day 2023


Izzy Appelt with parents Kimberly and Garth, and brother Jackson. Credit: Michael Dinan

Izzy Appelt

  • Georgetown
  • Lacrosse

“I visited the school. I was really interested in finding a balance between high academics and a program I really liked, and I fell in love with the team environment and the way that everything worked out. And when I went to see the campus, it was even more beautiful.”


Alex Benevento with parents Mike and Taylor. Credit: Michael Dinan

Alex Benevento

  • Brown
  • Baseball 

“I just really love the city of Providence. It kind of had everything that I wanted. And the campus itself, I was looking for something where when you’re on campus you felt like it was a campus but as soon as you leave, you know you have access to that city. That’s exactly what Brown offered. And when it came to the baseball side of things, I felt really connected with the coaching staff—Coach [Grant] Achilles, Coach [Christopher] Tilton, Coach [Holden] White—they were really great. I thought we kind of had the same philosophy and approach to baseball. I really liked the way they described how they like to play the game and I thought it was just a really good fit.”


Doster Crowell with parents Julia and Brian, and brother Jack. Credit: Michael Dinan

Doster Crowell

  • Michigan
  • Lacrosse

“It was my dream school to begin with. Great academics and I love their coaching staff, as well. So it’s a mix of both.”



Aidan Gray with parents Doug and Hope, and brother Alex. Credit: Michael Dinan

Aidan Gray

  • Sacred Heart University
  • Baseball

“Really close to home. Beautiful campus. The coaching really matched me. They just got a new head coach who is also a pitcher and about as tall as me. A little taller. So it really just fell into place.”


Claire Pellegrino with parents David and Laura. Credit: Michael Dinan

Claire Pellegrino 

  • Virginia
  • Squash

“I chose UVA because from my first visit I knew it was the right school for me. The team, the social aspect, and academics was what I was looking for and I also got an inside scoop of what the school was like because of my sister. My sister will be a senior at UVA when I am a freshman and I think she was another big reason why I chose Virginia. Overall, I knew it was the best choice for me.”


Reagan Quinn with parents Kim and Steve, and sister Reese. Credit: Michael Dinan

Reagan Quinn

  • Richmond
  • Lacrosse

“When I went down there, honestly the environment was just so awesome. The team culture is great. The coaches are amazing, the people are amazing and the campus is just really beautiful. So it was just perfect for me in every way.”


Ned Smith with mother Marcy. Credit: Michael Dinan

Ned Smith

  • Bucknell
  • Water polo

“I just found that there are a lot of people from here that go there and I think that, contrary to other schools, it wouldn’t take over my college experience playing there as much as other schools. So I’ll be able to get a full college experience.”


Dillon Stephens with parents Sally Jorgensen and Scott Stephens (grandparents Ron and Karen Marriott in attendance not pictured). Credit: Michael Dinan

Dillon Stephens

  • Syracuse
  • Lacrosse

“Going through my recruiting process, I wanted to go somewhere that had a good lacrosse program and good academics that fit me overall. And I think lacrosse-wise, we’re a contender to win the national championship the next few years. And academically it’s a good program for me.”


Lexie Tully with parents Krista and Paul, and sister Maddie. Credit: Michael Dinan

Lexie Tully

  • Cornell
  • Lacrosse

“I went through my process and I visited the school and I just fell in love with the campus and the team atmosphere. And the people there were really great.”


Tema Wagner with parents Anne and Jim , and sister Chandler. Credit: Michael Dinan

Tema Wagner

  • Davidson
  • Lacrosse

“It has always been a goal of mine to play lacrosse at the Division 1 level while also attending a school where high academics are prioritized. And when I visited Davidson, it just felt right, and I could really see myself as a student-athlete there. Davidson is also such a special place and I’m so excited to get to campus.”

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