Upgrade Unlocked: The Next Level for STA's Athletic Commits
Jordan Young '21
It was a tough year to be a high school athlete, but a tough year has never stopped the Cadets, and it didn’t stop us this year. Our senior class is one of the most athletically decorated classes in recent memory, and all of our athletes displayed the hard work, determination, and excellence that comes with being a Saint Thomas Academy athlete. As of this publication, here are Saint Thomas Academy’s athletic commitments from this past school year.
Garrison Soliday ‘21 | Commitment: Football @ Wisconsin-Madison (WI) -- Perhaps the most decorated football player in Saint Thomas Academy history, defensive lineman Garrison Solliday has had quite the career at Saint Thomas Academy. He has racked up numerous awards, including All-District, All-Conference, All-Section, and All-State awards, as well as being the first Cadet football player in history to be named a finalist for the Minnesota “Mr. Football” award. Comparable to Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, Garrison inserts himself into every play and wreaks constant havoc on opposing offenses. He will have an amazing career at Madison and will continue to develop as he looks to move onto the next level.
Daniel McFadden ‘21 | Commitment: Football @ Stanford (CA) -- Danny is not the first, not the second, not the third, not the fourth, but the fifth McFadden brother to come through the Academy, the fourth to play college football, and the third to do so at Stanford. Danny said that his family history in addition to the tremendous mixture of world-class academics and high-quality football pushed him to choose Stanford over his other offers.
Joe Vascellaro ‘21 | Commitment: Football @ St. John’s (MN) -- While he is known as the loud and personable Crack Drill Squad Commander, Joe Vascellaro is also a beast on the football field. He created many openings in the run game for the Cadets this year and will continue to improve his run-mauling talents at Saint John’s. This past year, Saint John’s senior Ben Bartch was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the tenth pick of the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, making him the first Johnnie to get selected into the NFL since 1974. Perhaps Joe can be the next.
Yenika Fondungallah ‘21 | Commitment: Football @ Benedictine (IL) -- A talented three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and track & field, “Yeni” Fondungallah decided to pursue football for his college athletics. After many offers and decision making, the lockdown corner decided on Benedictine University. The “Yenimal” is sure to have an awesome athletic and academic experience in college.
Jackson Hallum ‘21 | Commitment: Hockey @ Michigan (MI) -- Jackson is one of the best hockey players to ever play at Saint Thomas Academy, which is an impressive statement considering the amount of college, overseas, and NHL players like Anders Lee, Kyle Okposo, and Jordan Schroeder that the Academy has produced throughout the years. Regarded as the fastest player in Minnesota, and one of the speediest skaters in this year’s draft class, Jackson was selected by the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the 3rd round (91st overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft. Jackson is sure to have an amazing college and pro career ahead of him, and we all wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Jared Wright ‘21 | Commitment: Hockey @ Colgate (NY) -- Apple Valley native Jared Wright committed to Colgate University in New York after receiving a scholarship to play college hockey. One of the Cadet hockey team’s first line forwards, Jared has made a big impact on the Saint Thomas Academy hockey program since his freshman year. He’s sure to do great things at Colgate, both academically and athletically.
Benjamin Taxdahl ‘21 | Commitment: Baseball @ Wichita State (KS) -- The projected opening day starter for the Cadet’s baseball team, Ben has been putting in a tremendous amount of work this offseason to improve his velocity on the mound. The flamethrower is up to 92 mph from the bump and has developed some wicked off-speed pitches to complement his heater. Always improving his velocity and accuracy, Ben projects to be a stud at Wichita State, and possibly even an MLB Draft prospect.
Angelo Pacyga ‘21 | Commitment: Baseball @ Minnesota-Crookston (MN) -- The Supreme arm-sleeve wearing Cadet's baseball outfielder decided this past fall to commit to the University of Minnesota-Crookston to continue his academic and athletic career.
Liam Brennan ‘21 | Commitment: Baseball @ Baseball @ Bellevue (WA) -- With family living out in the Seattle area, Liam decided to attend college close to his relatives by choosing Bellevue College in Washington to pursue his academic and athletic career.
Henry (Baker) Reding ‘21 | Commitment: Lacrosse @ Holy Cross (MA) -- Our Cadet Colonel, and more importantly a fellow Citation editor, followed in his brother Hayes’s footsteps, choosing to play his college lacrosse at Holy Cross. The combination of a great lacrosse program and a top-quality academic program prompted Baker to take his lacrosse talents to Worcester, Massachusetts.
Giuseppe Chiovera ‘21 | Commitment: Lacrosse @ New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJ) -- One of the funniest and most outspoken members of the senior class, freshman transfer North-Carolina-and-Texas native Giuseppe Chiovera will be attending New Jersey Institute of Technology, or “NJIT” for short, for his college lacrosse. I’m not sure how many members of the NJIT lacrosse team are from Texas, but they’ll be hearing a lot of “y’all” from Seppe.
Jackson Carver ‘22 | Commitment: Lacrosse @ Notre Dame (IN) -- The only non-senior on this list, top-ranked junior Jackson Carver made his commitment to pursue his academic and lacrosse career at the University of Notre Dame. Unfortunately for us, that meant him transferring to Culver Military Academy, a preparatory school located in Indiana. The Saint Thomas Academy community thanks Jackson for his time at Saint Thomas, and wishes him the best of luck at Culver and Notre Dame!
The commitment season isn’t over and there are many seniors, including standout football player Jamie Smith, who still need to make their collegiate athletic decisions. There are sure to be more athletic commitments for the Cadets to come!