Deering seniors Ben Brown (second from left) and Owen McLaughlin (second from right), joined by athletic director Michael Daly (far left) and athletic trainer Greg Tosi, react after signing their National Letters of Intent Wednesday. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

Two Deering High athletes not only have promising senior seasons to look forward to, but they now know they’ll be competing at the college level as well.

In a National Letter of Intent signing in front of friends, family and administration in the school’s gymnasium Wednesday morning, lacrosse player Ben Brown committed to Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire and swimming standout Owen McLaughlin committed to the University of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday was the first day for high school seniors to sign a national letter of intent in all sports but football. The NLI is a one-year binding agreement used by NCAA Division I and II programs to confirm that a student will attend the institution in exchange for an athletic scholarship.

Brown is a defensive standout in lacrosse and in addition to playing for the Rams, he’s honed his skills with the 207Lacrosse club team.

“I was mostly looking at D3 schools and I wanted to stay close to home,” said Brown, who plans to study health science. “I joined the 207Lacrosse travel team and got some D3 interest. I was at a tournament and played well and Franklin Pierce’s coach liked what he saw. I really like the school and the coach is great. It’ll be a learning experience, but I’m really excited to have an opportunity.”

McLaughlin, the reigning Class A state champion in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, long had his sights set on competing for Notre Dame, but grew to love Pittsburgh and is looking forward to making his mark at the college level.

“It took me awhile to get into swimming because I wasn’t always good when I was younger, but once I started to get faster, opportunities starting coming,” said McLaughlin, who plans to study nutrition science. “When I went to Pitt for an official visit, I absolutely loved it and the coaches gave me a great deal and I knew that’s where I want to go. There will be a lot of fast guys, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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