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Three WHS students recognized at National Signing Day

From left, Woodbury High School students Kristina White, Lauren Puglisi and Mikayla Mayer sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday. Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker

Wednesday was a day for looking to the horizon for three Woodbury High School seniors.

Kristina White, Mikayla Mayer and Lauren Puglisi all signed letters of intent to play Division I college sports as part of National Signing Day ceremonies.

"We look forward to amazing things that will be happening on your college campuses," WHS Activities Director Jason Gonnion told the student-athletes during Wednesday's ceremony.

White, a standout guard for the Royals on the basketball court, will be attending the University of Vermont next year.

Nathan McGuire, who takes the reins this year as head coach of the girls' basketball team, said the excitement surrounding the opportunity to coach White has been "overwhelming."

"She's just a great kid," he said, while listing off White's accomplishments on the basketball court, which include being named one of Minnesotans listed in a 2011 Sporting News article focusing on standouts on the hard court. "That's a very, very great honor."

White, who eclipsed the 1,000-point scoring mark as a junior, currently stands seventh in Woodbury's all-time scoring list among girls' basketball players.

"Our team can't wait to get started," White said at the ceremony.

In addition to leading the Royals on the court, White also was co-captain of the girls' soccer team and kicked extra points this season for the varsity football team.

Puglisi, who will be attending the University of Wyoming, was introduced by diving coach Rick Light.

He recalled first seeing the girl known as "Red" - a nod to her auburn locks - diving as a svelte 85 pounder who couldn't make the board bend on her dives.

A lot has changed since then.

"She finally hit her peak this year," Light said.

Puglisi enters this year's state diving championships as favorite to win, the coach said. As a junior, Puglisi nabbed eighth place in Class AA on her way to an all-state season.

Marty Hoven, head coach of the girls' swimming team, introduced Mayer, who will also be competing at state this year after swimming to first place in the 50 meter freestyle event in section competition. Mayer qualified for state this year in four events after reaching state in three events last year.

"She's really one of the leaders on the team," Hoven said of Mayer, a six-time letter winner and two-time all-conference honoree. "She has represented Woodbury swimming well."

Mayer will be swimming for South Dakota State University.

Gonnion noted at the ceremony that fewer than 2 percent of all high school athletes receive athletic scholarships.

"It is an extreme honor," he said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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