KENNEBUNK — For Janelle Bouchard and Maria Varano, it all came down to comfort. The two Kennebunk High seniors signed their national letters of intent Wednesday, ultimately choosing the colleges where they felt they best fit in.

For Bouchard, a dominating All-State catcher for three years, that was Valparaiso, a Division I school in Indiana that competes in the Horizon League.

For Varano, who won the Maine schoolgirl singles championship last spring in her first foray into interscholastic sports, that was Siena, a Division I school in Loudonville, N.Y.

They were among the many high school athletes across the state making their college choices Wednesday.

At McAuley, Alexa Coulombe, a 6-foot-2 center, signed her letter to attend Boston College. An All-State performer as a junior when she helped McAuley to the Class A state title, Coulombe verbally committed to the Division I school last year.

She is a dominating presence on defense, averaging 7.6 blocks, but improved greatly on offense, especially on the perimeter, where she’ll likely play in college.

Mo Hannan, the standout softball pitcher for Scarborough, has decided on Southern New Hampshire University, though she said she won’t sign her letter of intent until today.

For all of them, the pressure of making a college decision is over, but other pressures persist.

“There’s the pressure to continue to perform,” said Bouchard. “I’m looking forward to this season and finishing strong.”

Bouchard chose Valparaiso over Maine and Seton Hall after visiting its campus. “After I saw Valpo, that was it for me,” she said. “It was the perfect fit for me. Not too big. Everyone was very welcoming.

“And it has a great softball program, and that’s what I’ve wanted since I was 8 years old.”

Bouchard has hit 17 home runs in her three years with the Rams, never batting lower than .400.

Last year she hit .548 with seven home runs, 22 RBI and 22 runs. Runners seldom try to steal on her: In three years, only three have tried. Two were thrown out.

Jim Lang, her coach at Kennebunk, said he has no doubt she will succeed at the next level.

“It’s not just her talent and ability,” he said. “She just brings that work ethic and desire to get better every day. She absolutely got better every year.”

Bouchard, who plans on studying pre-law, always has been a catcher. “I need to be involved in every play,” she said. “It is a lot of hard work, mentally, physically, emotionally. And I enjoy the challenge.”

Varano, who plans on studying political science, is the ninth-ranked player in USTA New England.

Her skills were on display in last spring’s schoolgirl singles tournament, which she won without dropping a set.

It was her first year on the Rams’ team. She previously played the challenging USTA circuit, competition that honed her skills and determination.

“I think Maria just had an inner drive,” said her mother, Lisa Varano. “She had perseverance, guts. She suffered some tough losses. We’d travel on weekends, sometimes very far. And sometimes the losses were hard. But come Monday morning she was always ready to play.”

Varano chose Siena over Quinnipiac, Stonehill and Providence.

“I fell in love with the campus,” she said. “And the coach is really, really great. And I felt right off the bat I made a connection with the coach (Andy Chistodoulou). When I went on my official visit, the team was really nice.

“And I really hadn’t had that connection with any other coach I met in the recruiting process. I love everything the school stands for.”

She said there is less pressure to play more tournaments. She’s unsure whether she will play for the Rams again this spring.

Like Bouchard, Scarborough’s Hannan chose the school that seemed to fit her best. “It feels like there’s a good balance between the school and playing,” she said.

Hannan has led Scarborough to two Class A state championships in three years. She is not only a dominating pitcher — with an ERA around .20 and over 350 strikeouts — but a dangerous hitter. She’s never batted lower than .433.

“This looks like the perfect fit for Mo,” said Scarborough Coach Tom Griffin. “This is a school that’s very excited about having her there and, it was obvious to me after her visit, it was the place she felt most comfortable at.”

THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE did not announce any early signings, but according to the espn.com high school website, the men’s basketball team received two commitments and the women received three.

Barry Webster, a 6-foot-10 forward from England who is playing for the Lee Academy prep school team, reportedly has committed to Maine, as has 6-4 Dimitry Coronel from Boston and Tabor Academy.

Elizabeth Wood, a 5-10 point guard from Bealton, Va., may be the top recruit for the new women’s coach, Richard Barron.

He also reportedly received commitments from Lauren Bodine, a 5-8 guard from Louisville, Ky., and Brittany Wells, a 5-7 guard from Indianapolis.

Maine officials said they will announce early signings once all of the recruits’ paperwork is in.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas contributed to this report.