Seven Lemont student-athletes make college commitments

(L-R): Justin Dian, Apollo Gothard, Austin Murray, David Niemyjski, Al Pontrelli, Kaylee Purgatorio, Alyiah Ward

Seven Lemont High School student-athletes have announced their commitments to compete collegiately beginning in the 2021-22 season. They include lacrosse player Justin Dian (Seton Hill University), wrestler Apollo Gothard (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), baseball player Austin Murray (Rockhurst University), softball player Kaylee Purgatorio (Lake Forest College), tumbler Alyiah Ward (Georgetown College), and football players David Niemyjski (University of St. Francis) and Al Pontrelli (Eastern Illinois University).

Justin Dian – Career Highlights

  • Expected to be a team leader in the upcoming season for head coach Tyler Zaremski
  • Has served as a starting midfielder since his freshman season
  • Through two varsity seasons, has totaled 130 points on 87 goals and 43 assists, while adding 240 ground balls and 137 face-off wins
  • Despite playing just two seasons, already ranks third on the school’s all-time goals scored list
  • Also currently the school’s career leader in shooting percentage at .433 (87-201)
  • Earned all-conference honors and was an all-state nominee while serving as a team captain as a sophomore in 2019
  • Netted a school-record 53 goals and was second on the team with 28 assists, 81 points, 122 ground balls and 64 face-off wins
  • Lemont finished the season with a 12-4 record and set a school single-season record for victories
  • Enjoyed a terrific freshman campaign in 2018, leading the team in goals (34), points (49), ground balls (118) and face-off wins (73), and ranking second in assists (15)
  • Lemont went 2-17 as boys’ lacrosse made its debut as an official IHSA sport
  • Also a two-year letterwinner as a wide receiver in football, totaling 34 catches for 405 yards and three touchdowns
  • Plays travel lacrosse for True Lacrosse, and has six years as a True State Premier player and five seasons as a True National team player
  • Participated at the Under Armour Midwest Showcase and the D2 National Showcase
  • Twice has played in national championship games, scoring two goals in each contest
  • High Honor Roll student
  • Will play for head coach Brian Novotny at Seton Hill University, an NCAA Division II institution that is located in Greensburg, Pa., and is a member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. The Griffins made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2018 and 2019, which included an NCAA Final Four berth in 2018.

Seton Hill University Men's Lacrosse

Apollo Gothard - Career Highlights

  • Earned three state medals in as many years for head coach John St. Clair, and is primed for an outstanding fourth season while wrestling for new head coach Erik Murry
  • Already ranks among the school’s all-time top 10 in wins, having compiled a 133-11 record
  • One of only three Lemont wrestlers to post an undefeated record and win an individual state title in the same season
  • Has won three IHSA Sectional titles, as well as two IHSA Regional and two South Suburban Conference crowns
  • Helped Lemont to its first IHSA Class 2A Dual Team State Championship as a junior in 2020, which included a victory in the title match against four-time defending state champion Washington
  • Won the 220 pound title at the 2020 IHSA Class 2A Individual State Championship, posting a 3-1 victory in overtime in the title match
  • Finished his junior year with a 49-0 record, eclipsing his own school record for victories in a season, and won IHSA Regional, IHSA Sectional and SSC titles
  • Lemont set a school record for wins by finishing 32-2, went 13-0 in SSC contests, and won IHSA Regional, IHSA Sectional and SSC championships
  • Finished as the IHSA Class 2A State Runner-Up at 220 pounds as sophomore in 2019
  • Posted a mark of 46-3, setting a school single-season record for victories
  • Captured IHSA Regional, IHSA Sectional and SSC titles
  • Helped the squad to an appearance at the 2019 IHSA Class 2A Dual Team State Finals, where it fell to eventual state champion Washington in the opening round
  • Lemont posted a 24-8 record, went 13-0 in the SSC, won IHSA Regional and IHSA Sectional crowns, and was the runner-up at the SSC Meet
  • Made an immediate impact as a freshman in 2018, posting a 38-8 record
  • Placed fifth at 195 pounds at the 2018 IHSA Class 2A Individual State Finals, becoming just the second freshman in program history to earn a state medal
  • Won his first IHSA Sectional title and was an IHSA Regional runner-up
  • Also has enjoyed an outstanding club wrestling career competing for Izzy Style Wrestling
  • Won Illinois Greco-Roman State Championships in 2018 (Cadet 220) and 2019 (Junior 220)
  • Won the 2018 Illinois Freestyle State Championship (Cadet 220) and was the state runner-up in 2019 (Junior 220)
  • Honor Roll student
  • Will wrestle for head coach Neil Erisman at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, an NCAA Division I institution that is located in Little Rock, Ark., and is an affiliate member of the Pacific-12 Conference in wrestling. The 2019-20 season was the Trojans’ first campaign at the varsity level. 

University of Arkansas-Little Rock Wrestling

Austin Murray – Career Highlights

  • Expected to start at shortstop for head coach Brian Storako’s team in 2021
  • Gap hitter and a speedy runner (6.73 in the 60-yard dash) who should steal plenty of bases
  • Leader on and off the field who knows the game well
  • Hard worker who has challenged himself to improve
  • Made his varsity debut late in his sophomore year in 2019, appearing in five games and picking up his first career hit
  • Plays travel baseball for Longshots Baseball
  • Starting shortstop for Longshots Baseball Teal, which is ranked No. 6 in the Midwest
  • A .303 hitter the last three seasons who has racked up 97 stolen bases
  • Two-time all-tourney selection
  • Had eight RBIs, stole seven bases and scored six runs on the final day of competition as Longshots won the 2020 Perfect Game Midwest Elite championship
  • High Honor Roll student
  • Will play for head coach Gary Burns at Rockhurst University, an NCAA Division II institution that is located in Kansas City, Mo., and is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Burns has led the Hawks to more than 750 wins and six NCAA Tournament appearances in 27 seasons

Rockhurst University Baseball

David Miemyjski – Career Highlights

  • Has earned one letter playing for head coach Bret Kooi
  • Expected to compete for playing time at quarterback in the upcoming season
  • Made his varsity debut as a junior in 2019
  • Completed 2-of-3 passes for 14 yards, and carried six times for 46 yards (7.7 per carry) and a touchdown
  • Lemont finished with an 8-3 record, was the South Suburban Conference Blue Division runner-up, and advanced to the second round of the IHSA Class 6A Playoffs
  • Honor Roll student
  • Will play for head coach Joe Curry at the University of St. Francis, an NAIA institution that is located in Joliet, Ill., and is a member of the Mid-States Football Association. Curry is a former MSFA Coach of the Year who has led the Fighting Saints to 42 wins.

University of St. Francis (Ill.) Football

Al Pontrelli – Career Highlights

  • Hard-hitting linebacker who enters his third season as a starter for head coach Bret Kooi
  • Two-time all-conference honoree and an honorable mention all-state performer
  • Over two varsity seasons, has totaled 149 tackles (70 solo), 44 tackles-for-loss, 14.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries
  • Repeated as an All-South Suburban Conference honoree as a junior in 2019
  • Cited as a Class 6A honorable mention all-state honoree by the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, while also earning all-area accolades from the Daily Southtown
  • Led the team with career highs of 77 tackles (33 solo), 23 tackles-for-loss and five forced fumbles, and ranked second on the team with a career-best 8.5 sacks
  • Lemont finished with an 8-3 record, was the South Suburban Conference Blue Division runner-up, and advanced to the second round of the IHSA Class 6A Playoffs
  • Made an immediate impact in his first varsity season as a sophomore in 2018, picking up All-SSC honors
  • Led the team with 21 tackles-for-loss and six sacks, and was second on the team with 72 tackles (37 solo)
  • Lemont finished the season with a 5-5 record, was the SSC Blue runner-up, and advanced to the IHSA Class 6A Playoffs
  • Honor Roll student
  • Will play for head coach Adam Cushing at Eastern Illinois University, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision institution that is located in Charleston, Ill., and is a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. Cushing will lead the Panthers for his second season when they kick off in the spring.

Eastern Illinois University Football

Kaylee Purgatorio – Career Highlights

  • Expected to play a key role in the middle infield for head coach Chris Traina in 2021
  • Gritty player who excels defensively and holds her own at the plate
  • A natural right-handed hitter, she has learned to hit from the left side over the past year and creates problems for opponents with her speed
  • Seasoned travel softball player who has played the last two seasons with the Chicago Cheetahs 18U Bowman squad
  • Has posted a .303 average and a .997 fielding percentage with the Cheetahs in 2020
  • Helped the Cheetahs capture the Comeback in Crown Point 18U title earlier this year
  • High Honor Roll student
  • Will play for head coach Joe Kinsella at Lake Forest College, an NCAA Division III institution that is located in Lake Forest, Ill., and is a member of the Midwest Conference. The Foresters won five MWC titles in six years from 2014-19, and have made five NCAA appearances.

Lake Forest College Softball

Alyiah Ward – Career Highlights

  • Accomplished tumbler and cheerleader who has been a vital performer on coach Bree Grady’s squad
  • Has helped Lemont to three IHSA State Final appearances, including one state championship
  • As a junior in 2020, helped Lemont to a sectional title and a fifth-place finish at the IHSA Medium Division State Finals
  • As a sophomore in 2019, was a key member of a squad that was the sectional runner-up and placed fifth at the IHSA Medium Division State Finals
  • Was the lone freshman on the squad in 2018, as Lemont won the sectional title and captured the program’s sixth IHSA Medium Division State Championship
  • Won gold in the junior coed division as a member of USA Cheer at the 2019 International Cheer Union World Championships
  • Part of the 2017 World Champion Lady Lightning squad
  • Twice has been ranked among the top 50 tumblers in the nation
  • Two-time National Cheerleaders Association and Summit champion
  • Has been a brand athlete for both Flipn Ampd and GK
  • Honor Roll student
  • Will compete for head coach Michael Edelen at Georgetown College, an NAIA institution that is located in Georgetown, Ky., and is a member of the Mid-South Conference. Edelen enters his second season as the Tigers’ head coach. All three divisions of the NCAA have approved acrobatics and tumbling as an emerging sport for women.

Georgetown College Acrobatics & Tumbling