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5 More Senior Athletes Commit To Play In College


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Kelly Nulty has excelled at butterfly for the Verona High School swim team.

Five Verona High School seniors recently committed to play sports when they begin their college careers during the fall of 2021.

Kelly Nulty will be on the swim team at Merrimack College, a Division I school, majoring in health sciences. Some of Nulty’s major accolades with the VHS swim team include earning MVP for both her junior and senior year performances, mainly for her butterfly records. During the 2018 season, Nulty placed fourth at the Super Essex Conference championship for both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly.

“I hope that with training in college and a new atmosphere I will be able to become a stronger swimmer and continue to achieve goals,” says Nulty.

Carlie Goldstein will be a student athlete at Gettysburg College, aspiring to someday become a dentist. While she was the starting catcher for the VHS girls’ softball team her freshman year, Goldstein unfortunately never completed another full season in her VHS career. She tore her labrum before the start of her sophomore season and her junior season was canceled due to the pandemic, but that adversity did not stop Goldstein from being named team captain for her senior year.

“I knew that I wouldn’t be ready to let go of softball at the end of high school. Gettysburg college was the second college I visited and I knew immediately that I wanted to go there. As a Division III School, the balance between sports and academics is exactly what I was looking for,” says Goldstein.

Gettysburg was the second college Carlie Goldstein visited and she knew immediately that she wanted to go there.

VHS has three students who will continue to play football during their college careers at Division III schools, including Steven Tafuri at Montclair State University, Jason Zerin at Salve Regina University and Frank Riggio at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Tafuri will be enrolled in MSU’s five-year master’s degree program for physical education. Tafuri starred as a tight and defensive end during his senior year and was voted for Honorable Mention All-County as a defensive end during his senior year.

“I was thrilled to play at any school that focuses on having fun and hard work,” Tafuri says. “I can’t wait to continue my athletic career there with an academic program that fits what I am looking for.” 

Zerin started playing football in second grade and developed a passion for offensive positions. He played varsity lineman during his junior and senior year and was named as part of the All-Essex County First Team Offense during the fall 2020 season. Zerin will be pursuing a degree in business administration.

“I want to continue to work hard and earn my way onto the playing field as soon as possible,” Zerin says. “I look forward to making the most of my athletic career.” 

As a running back for all four years as a VHS Hillbilly, Riggio led the state in touchdowns during his junior year with over 37. He was named as one of the top 10 football players across New Jersey and a second team All-State selection during his junior year. Riggio, who plans to study economics, always dreamed of playing football during college.

Since his freshman year, Riggio intended on continuing his passion for football beyond high school. When he visited Hobart, the athletic facilities felt like home and the supportive coaches and recruiters were unlike any others that Riggio had met. With Riggio’s various football records at VHS, he had many offers from colleges to study and play football at, but he says none matched the genuine attitude of the Hobart coaches.

“My goals as a student athlete is to improve in order to help my team win,” Riggio says. “Football is a team sport and I plan on doing everything I can to better the team. At Hobart, I am confident that I will excel as a student-athlete due to the tight-knit team vibes I felt from the moment I stepped on campus.”

The new contingent of student-athletes join five other VHS seniors who announced their commitments to college baseball and lacrosse back in December: Pierce Coppola, Kyle McCaffrey, Zach Bucher, Jack Lonsinger and Trevor Spinelli.

Riggio led the state in touchdowns during his junior year.

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