Andrew LoManto received the alert at 5 a.m. Wednesday. An ice storm froze Long Island, forcing to cancel classes.
LoManto went back to bed. The biggest decision of his young life would have to wait.
While the rest of the country celebrated National Signing Day, a virtual holiday for college football faithful, the student-athletes at St. Anthony’s held their collective breath.
“When I found out school was cancelled I was a little upset because I knew it was Signing Day,” LoManto said. “But I had to wait just two days. I knew it was going to happen.”
His moment in the spotlight came Friday morning in an elaborate signing ceremony flanked by 14 others at the school’s library.
The midfielder on the boys soccer team scored 13 goals and added 7 assists en route to co-MVP honors of the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA. LoManto, of Massapequa Park, signed with Seton Hall.
“It was a little stressful,” LoManto said of the wait. “I was anxious. I was just excited to get it done.”
While football is what the first Wednesday in February is known for, it’s also signing day for soccer. Fabulous soccer players is what Long Island known for producing.
“Wednesday’s the big day,” St. Anthony’s athletic director Don Buckley said. “That’s when the letters of intent should be signed. Unfortunately there was nothing we could do. School was closed. We’re just thrilled we could have an awards ceremony.”
Buckley noted the school has had 34 athletes sign letters of intent this school year, including an .
One standout from the championship Friars football team signed. Jon Desir, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 285-pound nose guard from Westbury, committed to Division I-AA Towson.
While Rutgers, UConn and Stony Brook expressed interest, Desir visited Towson the weekend after winning a CHSFL championship and fell for the Maryland school.
“It just felt right,” Desir said.
It’s a nice landing for a teenager who had no college football ambitions as a freshman. Along the way, Desir grew into a defensive lineman who routinely drew double teams and wrecked opposing game plans.
“I had the size but I didn’t have the skill,” Desir said. “My coaches made the difference.”
Desir also developed into a state champion in wrestling.
“The wrestling really helped him as a football player,” St. Anthony’s football coach Rich Reichert said.
Another Signing Day success was girls soccer star Ashley Small. The Melville native chose to attend St. Anthony’s over Half Hollow Hills East, in part, for its sports prowess.
After signing with Fairfield over Marist, Iona, Rider and James Madison, Friday proved her decision to attend St. Anthony’s paid off big time.
“It feels good to know I made it into the school I wanted,’’ Small said. “I never even thought this was possible.”
Soccer standout Enrque Tirado, flanked by his parents and little sister, followed his heart when he signed with Air Force.
“I want to serve my county,” Tirado said. “It’s something I want to do. And my dad was in the Air Force. I want to follow in his footsteps and see where it goes.”
Judging by the beaming faces of the talented athletes on a cold Friday morning, sky’s the limit.
St. Anthony's Signing DayName Sport College Elizabeth Agiato Girls Soccer George Mason Paul Alessandrini Wrestling Franklin & Marshall Matt Altebrando Boys Soccer Cornell Kyle Arestivo Boys Soccer USMMA Ariana Aston Girls Soccer Boston College Alissa Beanculli Girls Soccer Wagner Football Towson Girls Soccer Siena
FairfieldCandice Stewart Girls Soccer Army Prep Enrique Tirado Boys Soccer Air Force John Ugur Boys Soccer Marist Matt Wendelken Boys Soccer Marist