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Freeport swimmer Otwell signs with Towson

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Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Bria Otwell competes during a swim meet MOnday, Feb. 10, 2014, at Highlands.
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Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
Freeport's Bria Otwell swims laps during practice Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, at Shady Side Academy.
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Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Burrell's Sydney Bordonaro drives past Clarion-Limestone's Josie Stitt during their playoff game Friday, March 7, 2014, at North Hills High School.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Plum's Andrew Reynolds drives from the 15th tee during the WPIAL Class AAA boys individual golf championships at Latrobe Country Club on Oct. 2, 2014, in Latrobe.
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Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Penn-Trafford's Maria Palarino (12) shoots the ball past Plum's Alyson Weifenbaugh (14) and Courtney Zezza (44) during the first round of WPIAL playoffs on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 at Penn Hills High School. Penn-Trafford won 46-43.

Not even making her college commitment official kept Freeport senior Bria Otwell from getting her swim practice in Wednesday morning.

Otwell woke before 5 a.m. and swam for more than an hour at the Allegheny Valley YMCA before returning home and signing her National Letter of Intent to compete at Division I Towson University at 7 a.m.

Wednesday marked the first day of the NCAA’s early-signing period.

“If anybody knows me, they know I’m a very hyper person,” Otwell said. “You would have thought I would have been like, ‘let’s go, let’s go, let’s go ­— I want to sign the paper.’ But I was oddly calm about it.

“I was really excited, and it was like this weight came off my shoulders when I signed. But I wasn’t crazy.”

Otwell verbally committed to Towson earlier this fall, and signing the NLI Wednesday made that official. She said the campus’s location — in the town of Towson and 20 minutes outside Baltimore, but without feeling like a city — and the strength of the Tigers’ program caused her to choose Towson over her other two finalists, the College of Charleston and George Mason.

“It has the feel of kind of being in the city,” she said. “You can walk a lot of places if you really want to — (although) it’s a long walk. But you’re not stuck in the middle of chaos.”

Otwell, a three-time WPIAL champion, is ramping up for her senior season at Freeport while also preparing to compete at the Tom Dolan Invitational at the University of Maryland in December.

“I’m pretty pumped up for my senior year,” Otwell said. “It’s definitely going to be a great year. Probably my main goal this season is just to get better and try to get my turns as fast as I can so I can be ready to go swim with those girls on that team next year.”

Other Alle-Kiski Valley athletes to sign Division I NLIs Wednesday included:

• Plum boys golfer Andrew Reynolds, La Salle. Reynolds switched his verbal commitment from Division II Gannon to La Salle last month after the Explorers offered him a scholarship.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to playing with some of the best competition in the country. Some of the names just in the Atlantic 10 Conference alone are outstanding players.”

• Burrell girls basketball player Sydney Bordonaro, Pepperdine. Bordonaro said her recruiting process began when she was in seventh or eighth grade, and she committed to Pepperdine last year.

“I’ve just known where I wanted to go for a while now,” she said. “It doesn’t really make a difference today, actually. I’m excited to make it official, but it’s not that big of a difference.”

• Plum girls basketball player Courtney Zezza, St. Francis (Pa.). Zezza, a 6-foot-3 center, verbally committed to play for the Red Flash in September and is Plum’s second Division I girls basketball recruit in as many years, joining 2014 graduate Krista Pietropola (Youngstown State).

“(It felt) good and exciting,” Zezza said. “I was just anxious to sign it.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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