Three Pinecrest seniors held their signing ceremony on Thursday in the school’s media center to honor the momentous accomplishment in their playing and academic careers.
Signing to play in college were Jonathan Stansel from the boys lacrosse team, Kat Monk from the girls lacrosse team and Kate Casey from the girls soccer team.
Stansel became the first Pinecrest boys lacrosse player to earn all-state honors after helping the Patriots claim their first state playoff win this season. He signed with NCAA Division II Queens, to become the program’s first signee to a NCAA Division II program or higher.
“Jonathan worked really hard,” coach Brad Thomson said. “He has to be as goofy as you can be, as fun-loving as he is, but he is probably one of the more dedicated players I’ve ever coached.”
As a faceoff specialist for the team this season, Stansel won 95 of the 125 faceoffs he lined up in, and that success rate helped him earn first-team all-conference honors. Thomson commented on Stansel’s leadership this season and how it was a driving force for this year’s squad.
On top of faceoff duties, Stansel also scored two goals and had one assist. Defensively he had 57 groundballs and one interception.
“Coach really stayed dedicated on me,” Stansel said. “It’s been great to play here. Now I just can’t wait to see where life takes me.”
Monk’s ability to flip the switch when she got on the field was brought up by Nikki Schwob at the ceremony on Thursday. Schwob coached Monk through AC Sandhills and saw her develop into one of the top players in the region over the years. Mok signed with Belmont Abbey.
“When I think of Kat as a person, I think of a happy, fun-loving, bubbly, smiley girl who is loyal to friends and family,” Schwob said. “When I think of Kat on the lacrosse field, I think of someone you don’t want to be around. I think of lightning speed, lethal quickness; she’s skilled, determined and relentless.
“That's exactly what you want in a collegiate athlete.”
Monk was an all-conference performer this season for Pinecrest. The Patriots finished the season 7-4 and made the state playoffs. In the midfield, Monk posted 10 goals and had four assists.
“I’m still kind of stunned that I’m going to be playing in college because it happened in January when I committed,” Monk said. “This is awesome.”
A four-year starter at centerback for the Patriots on the soccer field, coach Corey Rice said that Casey has been a big part of Pinecrest accumulating a 65-4-3 record over her career, including a state runner-up finish in the 2019 season.
“For some players, it’s been a very difficult year because seniors stayed on at schools and it kind of messed people up that were planning on going to ID camps. I think it’s very special that the group of athletes here today got to realize that dream,” Rice said. “We’re blessed that Kate has that opportunity to play. Do I think that Kate’s one of the best players around that we’ve had in this program? Yes, very much so.”
This season, the Patriots’ defense behind the leadership of Casey hasn’t allowed a goal in 12 contests. Casey will join Lenoir-Rhyne next season.
“Like Corey said, the recruiting process was obviously very tough this year like it is every year. I’m just really grateful,” Casey said. “I definitely couldn’t have done it without my coaches and my friends and my family.”
Contact Jonathan Bym at (910) 693-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.