East Leyden Sports Recruiting: Class of 2020 Edition

East Leyden Sports Recruiting: Class of 2020 Edition

We are now in the middle of November, and it’s officially college sports recruiting season. Many seniors here at East Leyden are being recruited for sports, but here are a few of Leyden’s most talented stars. 

Leyden football’s quarterback and captain, James Lonigro, grew up in River Grove and went to Rhodes Elementary School. James has been playing football since he was in fifth grade, making it almost eight years of experience on the field.

Before his senior season, James’s biggest test was coming in as a new quarterback, having to replace former quarterback Kyler Britten. After taking a year off to play Wide Receiver, James put a lot of work in before the season started. 

“At the beginning of the year my mechanics and my throwing were not really the best, so over our break I really tried to work on flaws and tried to get better everyday”

One can say this work paid off as James recorded 1,262 total yards, averaging about six yards per carry, and thirteen yards per pass attempt. 

This season really put James on the radar as he’s been receiving interest from schools like Lake Forest College, Carthage College, and Augustana College to compete at the next level.

When asked why he wants to play at the next level, James simply stated “My passion for football is unmatched. All of the friendships I have created and what this game has done for me is amazing”. 

“It feels good that someone acknowledges your hard work, and the coaches I’ve had in the past have pushed me to success.”

James looks to major in Education next year at whichever school he chooses.

Senior Elyse Mcglaughlin, another student who grew up in River Grove, is one of Leyden Softball’s top players. She has been playing softball since sixth grade, making it about seven years of experience.

Elyse plays mostly third base and outfield, but she states she can play almost all positions.

“I think I am a great softball player because I am willing to play at any position that the coach needs me to. I am a team player, and I am willing to do anything to help my team win.”

It seems she has done just that by recording a .387 batting percentage, a .429 on base percentage, and a .935 fielding percentage. 

She not only plays for Leyden, but for the Melrose Park Devil’s 18U team during the off season.

“I also played basketball and ran cross country, but I realized that my best chance in playing a sport in college would be softball. I realized that more schools would look at me for playing softball instead of basketball or cross country.”

This helped her tremendously as now she is being recruited by Slippery Rock University, Carthage College, and California University of Pennsylvania.

When asked what college softball could do for her, she stated, “College softball would help me because it would keep me focused on my school work and making sure that I keep my grades up. It will also help with my time management.”

Elyse looks to major in Psychology or Physical Therapy while playing softball at the next level.

Senior point guard of Leyden’s basketball team Justin Timmerhaus, who grew up in Rosemont and has been playing basketball since he was four years old, has been getting looked at by schools like Central Michigan, Gallaudet, and University of Indianapolis. 

Justin grew up playing sports like football, volleyball, and basketball. These sports require leaders, and Justin believes he is just that.

“What makes me a great basketball player is I am aggressive, a very vocal leader, and I work very hard.”

Justin broke his thumb this past summer, causing him to miss several weeks from his AAU basketball team. 

“I would show up to practice with a cast on and I would just watch. By not playing it has taught me not to take anything for granted, and it made me want to work harder so I trained everyday.”

Some may take things for granted such as being healthy and the ability to play sports. Justin grew up with a hearing disability, making it very hard to play sports like basketball, which require a lot of speaking and communicating. 

Many kids with disabilities normally would play against different competition, or not play at all. Justin on the other hand, takes his disability and uses it as inspiration.

“I was inspired by people who have disabilities who were told they can’t do something, and then they go for it and do amazing things, and most importantly, be successful. I want to do the same by inspiring others.”

After Justin averaged about 14 points per game, six assists per game, seven rebounds per game, and two steals for his AAU team, he looks to come into his senior season with a chip on his shoulder. 

He plans on majoring in business next year at his selective school.

These students advise other athletes to take advantage of the sports Leyden has to offer, and of course, work hard, be determined, and win.