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Kennesaw State University and Florida Institute of Technology might be a long way from York County.

But they felt like home to York Catholic's Maura Palandro and Tommy Bowser. On Wednesday, the two lacrosse standouts for the Fighting Irish signed National Letters of Intent. Palandro will attend Kennesaw State in Georgia to play for the NCAA Division I program, while Bowser will play for the Division II program at Florida Tech.

"They were kind of like the best of everything for me," Palandro said. "To me, personally, I'm very committed to academics and pursuing nursing and they're second in the state of Georgia for nursing, which is great. Their lacrosse program is really strong, playing big opponents and producing great players out of their program, so I was really excited to be a part of that. Although it is far from home, I'm excited to make my own path and have some new adventures."

For Bowser, his choice came down to one deciding factor, among a few others.

"I just happened to go there because I do enjoy the beach. Very much so," he joked. "It's right near the beach and Florida Tech has a great engineering program and I want to be an engineer."

The two York Catholic students were just two of six athletes at the school to make their college decisions official on Wednesday, first day of the fall signing period, among many others in York County and the York-Adams League. Along with Palandro and Bowser, Liz Johnson signed with Catholic University (D-III) for soccer, Brooke Ricks signed with Elizabethtown College (D-III) for women's volleyball, Tanner Yanick signed with York College (D-III) for men's lacrosse and Liam O'Connor signed with Eastern University (D-III) for men's lacrosse.

For many high school athletes, the entire recruiting process can be stressful.

"It was kind of like a relief, to me, because it's like the reward of all the hard work paying off," Palandro said. "So, it was like a relief and nice to have all my coaches there, all the people who have supported me throughout the whole process."

Palandro, who plays a hybrid defensive midfielder position, was also considering Florida Tech, Mercer (Georgia), La Salle and Robert Morris. Bowser, who also plays midfield, was looking at York College, University of Tampa and Robert Morris.

For many of the athletes, the signing-day festivities included celebrations with their parents and coaches. According to Palandro and Bowser, those two support systems are essential during the grueling recruiting process, not only in helping the athletes make the best possible decisions, but for encouragement and assistance whenever needed.

"I also owe all of my success in my lacrosse career to my parents and my coaches," Bowser said. "My mom will jokingly say that my scholarship is joint with hers, like it's her scholarship too. But, my coaches were very helpful throughout the process. They've been through the recruiting process, just like Maura's have, a bunch of times and really coached me through that and what to do and how to interact with coaches. They really did prepare me for what I'm going to deal with in college and the college lacrosse level I'm going to be playing."

OTHER COLLEGE SIGNEES

Below is a list of some other Y-A League athletes that signed NLIs on Wednesday:

Red Lion: Wyatt Tyson, baseball, Campbell University (D-I); Bryar Lauer, baseball, Harford Community College (JUCO); Courtney Dimoff, women's basketball, Millersville University (D-II).

Spring Grove: Katie Eichelberger, cheerleading, Stevenson University (D-III); Laken Bankert, women's volleyball, Penn State Berks (D-III); Matt Brooks, baseball, UNC Charlotte (D-I).

Gettysburg: Megan Miller, field hockey, Lock Haven (D-I); Emily Spangler, field hockey, East Stroudsburg (D-II).

South Western: Lynne Mooradian, track and field, United States Military Academy at West Point (D-I).

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com; follow on Twitter @P_Strohecker

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