Out on the Upper School quad on a picture-perfect spring morning, 11 Durham Academy seniors officially committed to continuing their athletic careers at the college level on Thursday.
The 11 signees — Austin Corbett, Sean Donahue, Brooke Epstein, Ethan Goldstein, George Linney, Jackson Niedel, Gabby Marchese, Diego Pastor-Valverde, Izzy Steinberg, Isabel Trahey-Matzen and Carson Tucker — join four seniors who committed to compete in college in November.
“This class of 102 will be sending 15 student-athletes on to the next level — quite an accomplishment and a tribute to the hard work of these young men and women behind me,” said Director of Athletics Andy Pogach as he welcomed an enthusiastic audience of classmates, family members, coaches and teachers to the signing ceremony.
“Today’s official celebration is about what this group of 11 will be doing in the future, but in reality it’s about what they have done in the past to get to where they are today,” he continued. “There are so many people here that have helped you — family members, teachers, coaches, teammates. We are all proud of you and your accomplishments and can’t wait to see what you do at the next step of your athletic career.”
Gettysburg College, Lacrosse
Corbett, who has earned varsity letters in lacrosse each of his four years in the Upper School, was named All-Conference in 2021.
“Austin has worked really hard over the years to earn this opportunity and we couldn’t be more proud of him,” Durham Academy head varsity boys lacrosse coach Jon Lantzy said. “Austin and I started our lacrosse journey together way back in first grade youth lacrosse, and I have had a front-row seat to his growth as a player and person that has followed. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for his continued growth on and off the field. Way to go, Austin!”
Case Western Reserve University, Baseball
Donahue, a four-year varsity letter winner in baseball, was named All-Conference in 2021.
“Sean Donahue is one of our hardest workers on the team,” said Dean Dease, head coach of DA’s varsity baseball team. “He dedicated himself to the weight room, and it has paid off for him on the playing field. Sean is a quiet leader, and players will follow him because they know he does things the right way. I look forward to big things for him at Case Western.”
Haverford College, Lacrosse
Epstein is a five-year member of the DA varsity girls lacrosse team and has served as a captain of DA’s varsity girls lacrosse team. As a lacrosse player, she has been twice named to both the All-State and All-Conference teams, and she was Conference Player of the Year in 2021. That year, she was also named U.S. Lacrosse All-American and was honored with Durham Academy’s Steve Engebretsen Leadership Award, given in honor of former DA Director of Athletics Steve Engebretsen.
“Brooke is DA at its finest,” said head varsity girls lacrosse coach Debbie Rebosa. “She is a fierce competitor and can be counted on all over the field. She has an intensity that drives our team. She also is a dream to coach. … Not only do I appreciate her strong work ethic, intense focus and incredible ability to shoot under pressure, but she is just a pure joy to be around. … We wish her the best of luck at Haverford and look forward to watching her grow and excel at the next level.”
Haverford College, Baseball
Goldstein, a four-year member of DA’s varsity baseball team, has twice been named All-Conference and was named DA Offensive Player of the Year in 2019 and 2021.
“Ethan Goldstein is a very good leader on the baseball team,” Dease said. “He communicates well with players and coaches. Ethan also has a very positive attitude and keeps the team motivated. I’m sure he will do well next year at Haverford.”
Elon University, Cross-Country
Linney has been a member of the varsity cross-country and track and field teams for the past three years, and he served as captain of the cross-country team in 2021.
“George Linney is fully in the arena. He will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat,” said Costen Irons, head coach of Durham Academy’s cross-country and track teams. “He is completely dedicated to getting better. He is one of the hardest workers on the DA distance team. George has the second-fastest mile and two-mile times on this year’s track team. His performance at the state meet was instrumental in this year’s second-place finish in the state. He has the passion and the work ethic to continue to run at the next level. I can’t wait to see what he does as a Phoenix.”
Swarthmore College, Volleyball
Marchese, a three-year letter winner with Durham Academy’s varsity volleyball team, was named All-Conference in 2021, a year in which she also served as a captain. She was honored with the DA team’s Coach’s Award in 2020.
“Gabby is the true definition of a team player. Absolute rock-star status!” said Latacha De Oliveira, who served as head coach of the DA team. “She always put the team first and fulfilled any role that was asked of her. Gabby didn't miss a single practice and put forth 100 percent effort at all times. She plays with heart and passion and served as an amazing leader and role model for the Cavaliers. Gabby is a delight to coach at all times. Swathmore is lucky to have her.”
Kenyon College, Baseball
Niedel, a four-year member of the Cavaliers baseball team, was named All-Conference and DA Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.
“Jackson Niedel is a competitor. He has tremendous focus on the mound, at the plate or in centerfield,” Dease said. “His ability to concentrate and battle leads to his success on the diamond. Baseball is a difficult game, and Jackson works very hard to be good at it. With his mental and physical game, Jackson will be very successful at Kenyon College.”
Vassar College, Soccer
Pastor-Valverde, a three-year varsity letter winner with the DA boys soccer team, is a two-time All-Conference honoree. In 2021, he was named Conference Player of the Year, a team captain, a co-recipient of the team’s MVP award and an All-State honoree.
“Diego Pastor-Valverde embodies the best of what it means to be a student-athlete at Durham Academy,” said Julian Cochran, head coach of DA’s varsity boys soccer team. “He is passionate about his sport. He is an inclusive leader who encourages others while also having enough individual skill and courage to take up the mantle and lead his team to succeed when we need him to do so. He has high expectations for others, and he holds himself to the same standard. He is calm under pressure and always wants to give his best for his teammates. He is approachable, relatable and an excellent role model for his teammates, as he seems to always know when to be serious and when to let his guard down and have fun. We thank Diego for the many amazing on-field memories during his time as a member of DA's soccer program.”
Catholic University, Volleyball
Steinberg, a two-year member of the Cavaliers varsity volleyball team, was a team captain in both 2020 and 2021 and earned the team’s Dedication Award in 2021.
“Izzy joined the Cavs as a junior and has done a great job leading her team from the beginning,” De Oliveira said. “Izzy's most admirable trait as a volleyball player is her practice work ethic. She enjoyed pushing herself and her teammates each day at practice and expected the level of play to always be top-notch. She plays with her heart and works very hard daily. Catholic got a good one.”
Ohio Wesleyan University, Soccer
Trahey-Matzen, a four-year member of Durham Academy’s varsity girls soccer team, was named All-Conference in 2021 and has twice been named N.C. Soccer Coaches Association All-Region.
“Isabel is one of the best players on our team,” said head coach Susan Ellis. “She works hard in the classroom, and her smile, personality and character bring so much joy to me and our team. She plays in our defense and is a warrior. Our team is better because Isabel chooses to play high school soccer for Durham Academy, and I am lucky I get to coach her.”
Sweet Briar College, Field Hockey
Tucker, a three-year member of Durham Academy’s varsity field hockey team, was named All-Conference honorable mention in 2020.
“I taught field hockey to the Lower School kids every year, which is where Carson learned to play,” said Judy Chandler, DA varsity field hockey coach from 1991–2021, who also taught Lower School physical education for many years. “As a rising third-grader, she began to come to my DA summer camp and continued every summer until she began playing on the Middle School team. She enrolled in camps, clinics and clubs to play this game and improve as much as possible. All of her dedication and hard work has brought her to this moment, and I couldn't be prouder.”