Churchville-Chili Signs Three to NLIs


The Churchville-Chili School District celebrated their four seniors who signed National Letters of Intent last night.. Defenseman Justin Ferraraccio (Roberts Wesleyan), offensive player Trevor Hodgins (Ohio State) and Jake Mortier (Le Moyne) were honored along with wrestler Sam Eagan (Wyoming). C-C NLI

"Being an Athletic Director can be a great thing many times and this is one of them," said Churchville-Chili Athletic Director Mike Murray as he opening the ceremony. "Both the District Mission and the Athletic Mission talks about striving for excellence and certainly there are four individual here tonight that have not only strived for excellence their whole high school careers, but will also continue to do so as they head off to college."

Head Coach Joe Aquilina took the podium to introduce each of his three players. "I am thankful today that we're are all here because this is a once in a life-time opportunity that ladies and gentlemen get when they use their athletic abilities to further themselves as a student and as a person. It is an amazing thing that we get to come here, celebrate it and send them off the right way." He thanked the parents for the great support of their sons as they traveled to off-season tournaments and camps. He noted how hard each of the players had worked to achieve their goals. He then introduced each player, who each took their turn, signing their letters and posing for photographs.Coach Joe Aquilina

A varsity defenseman since his freshman year, Justin Ferraraccio decided to stay close to home after he graduates in the spring. After looking at RIT, Albany and Binghamton, he decided on Roberts Wesleyan, in his home town. "The coach said 'I need you on my team' and I said 'All right Coach, I can do that for you.'"

Looking up to former Churchville-Chili/Mercyhurst LSM, Mitch Mertel as a role model, he will be able to work with him as an Assistant Coach Wesleyan. He also mentioned Nick Bruno (C-C/Clarkson) who helped him in his early years. "I give him a lot of credit, because he taught me so much."

The lanky defenseman said he enjoys one-on-one defense, especially behind the cage. When asked about a memorable match up last year he went right to Fairport, where he played (close friend) Justin Kesselring. "He was probably the toughest one. We had a really good game."

Jake Mortier felt strongly about his choice to attend Le Moyne College. "Obviously Le Moyne being an amazing lacrosse school, winning the National Championship last year had a big impact. Also, the campus is absolutely gorgeous and I will be majoring in Biology and the science department there is great." He hopes for a career in physical therapy. Although not a factor in his decision he is excited to be able to play with three other Section Five players next year. "We [Luke Bartkoski/Victor, Justin Kesselring and Kacin Welch/Fairport] have all been playing on the same Blaze team for the last four years so we are all excited to be playing together." Definitely a D-II fan, Mortier also looked at Mercyhurst and Limestone before selecting Le Moyne.

When asked about people in his life that have helped him succeed, Mortier turned quickly to his father, Greg Mortier, who is the Head Football Coach at Wilson High School. "Since seven years old, he has been encouraging me. I honestly don't think I would have gone this far or been this good, without him." Growing up he looked up to Doug Hemink (RIT) and Ryan Yunker (Bryant).Three Seniors

Shooting 64% of shots on cage last year, as a midfielder he added 22g-10a to his career stats last year while picking up 25 ground balls.

Trevor Hodgins noted that Ohio State was the last school he visited and that it wasn't in his top school list until he visited and immediately fell in love with the place. He made a verbal commitment in his sophomore year. "Coach [Nick] Myers and Coach [Dave] Dobbins are both great guys. The atmosphere there is crazy." He noted that Luc Bailey is in the class ahead of him and that Willie Klan and Brandon Barker will be in the class behind him. "So I have someone to show me the ropes and then I will be the one to show them the ropes."

After scoring 13g-8a as an eighth grader on the Varsity team, Hodgins has amassed 109g-75a (184 pts) as he enters his last season with the Saints. His play has been tempered by his teammates. "Coming up I knew my role in the offense." Playing with Jon Hemink (RIT), Ryan Yunker (Bryant), Zach Yehl (Nazareth), he said " as I was growing up I was able to get assists because of all the great shooters around me."

Starting in third grade, Hodgins credits his early coaches, especially John Buck, with helping him succeed. "We didn't have youth lacrosse in Chili and he started it all. He kept all of us going and always pushed us. He deserves everything. He is the man."

As for the immediate future, all three players are looking for the best year ever for the Saints. "Winning Sectionals for sure," said Ferraraccio. "We are going to States," said Mortier. "I think we have an amazing chance to go far this year." Trevor Hodgins agreed, "I don't expect anything less than a Sectional Championship. I've been there. I've been smacked down in the finals and I want to take it this year and leave on a good note.