by Andrew Garda
Six athletes from Montclair area schools committed to playing sports at Division I colleges next season during the early signing period on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Montclair High School was represented by three athletes who signed National Letters of Intent — Jada Auletta (lacrosse at Howard University), Abby Romano (lacrosse at Lafayette University) and Amelia Cataldi (crew at UCLA) — as well as a fourth, Nanette-Rose Walls-Tarver, who committed to the application process at Yale University, where she would play lacrosse. Yale, like other Ivy League schools, does not offer athletic scholarships.
Auletta is poised to start in goal for the second straight year for the Mounties, while both Romano and Walls-Tarver have been key pieces of the Montclair team since they arrived at MHS.
While longtime MHS lacrosse coach Ann Jennings stepped down from her coaching duties following last season, Signing Day was still a proud moment for her and her former players.
“I think Lafayette is a great fit for Abby,” Jennings said in a recent email. “She will be able to be a part of a team that is re-building with a new head coach, in a competitive league, the Patriot League. Abby is an exceptional multi-sport athlete that will bring her athleticism and competitiveness to the program.”
She also had praise for her former goaltender.
“I have always been fortunate to have exceptional goalkeepers while coaching at Montclair and Jada ranks among the best,” she wrote. “Howard’s program will greatly benefit with Jada’s leadership in goal. Her keen awareness in the cage, quick reflexes and her confidence have made her one of the best goalies in the state.”
Walls-Tarver has been one of the biggest keys to the Mounties offense, stepping into a role immediately as a freshman, and cresting the 100 goal mark last season. Over the course of her three years so far, Walls-Tarver has scored 129 times, and will add to that this year.
Meanwhile, at Montclair Kimberley Academy, two Cougars also signed their NLIs. Alexis Riley will play soccer for Holy Cross in 2020 while Alina Smith will play volleyball for Lehigh University.
Riley had six assists and one goal for the Cougars this season, the first for the Cougars under head coach Jordan Raper, while Smith was one of the captains of her team during their first season under new head coach Molli Dowd. Both coaches were present for their athletes on signing day.