Three Cape Elizabeth High seniors signed their National Letters of Intent on Monday to continue their athletic careers at NCAA Division I schools. They are, from left, Brooke Mahoney (Davidson swimming), Keegan Lathrop (Delaware lacrosse) and Hadley Mahoney (George Washington cross country and track). Steve Craig photo

CAPE ELIZABETH — After years of competing against each other, twins Brooke and Hadley Mahoney opted to carve different paths when it came to athletics.

It worked out well for the 17-year-old seniors at Cape Elizabeth High. On Monday afternoon they ended up in the same place: signing National Letters of Intent to play a sport at an NCAA Division I school at an after-school ceremony in front of dozens of friends and family members.

Brooke Mahoney, a four-time individual state champion swimmer in individual medley and freestyle races, will be diving into the pool for Davidson College in North Carolina. Hadley Mahoney, who won the Class B cross country championship as a sophomore in 2021, will be running cross country and distance events for George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“As we got older we found what our specialty is and what we love to do,” Brooke Mahoney said. “She continues to run. I swim. We both go to the gym together so we stay athletic together.”

Hadley Mahoney also swims in the winter and has helped Cape Elizabeth win the past two Class B team championships.

“There was a little bit of trouble because we both did club swimming up until the middle of middle school and she was always kind of the better swimmer,” she said. “I was always the little bit better runner. So we did get competitive but then we kind of took our own path and that was really good.”

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The National Letter of Intent signing period began Wednesday for all sports except football. An NLI is a binding agreement between the student-athlete and a four-year institution. The student agrees to attend the institution for one year in exchange for the institution’s promise, in writing, of providing athletic financial aid for the entire academic year.

NCAA Division III schools and the Division I Ivy League programs do not offer athletics based financial aid. And many high school athletes recruited by Division I and II schools are not offered athletic financial aid.

Keegan Lathrop, right, scored 62 goals and had 20 assists last spring while leading Cape Elizabeth to a third consecutive Class A title. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Also signing an NLI at Cape Elizabeth on Monday was Keegan Lathrop, who will play lacrosse at the University of Delaware, which was ranked No. 13 in the final 2023 Inside Lacrosse poll and has qualified for the NCAA tournament the past two years. Lathrop had offers from several Division I schools and eventually chose Delaware over Bryant College (where his older brothers, Tiernan and Killian, play) and Rutgers of the Big Ten. Keegan Lathrop was the 2023 Varsity Maine boys’ lacrosse Player of the Year after scoring 62 goals to lead the Capers to the Class A title.

“It was either Delaware or Bryant and go play with my brothers but I kind of wanted to find my own path, do my own thing,” Lathrop said. “I went to Delaware, visited it. My dad calls it that ‘warm and fuzzy feeling.’ I immediately got that when I was on campus. I loved the campus. Could see myself there for the next four years.”

Many other southern Maine high school seniors have either signed or are expected to sign in the coming days, weeks and months. Basketball players have until this Wednesday to sign, with another signing window from April 17 to May 15, 2024. All other sports except football have an open window for NLI signings until Aug. 1.

Football has two signing periods: an early period from Dec. 20-22, typically utilized by top-tier recruits, and the more traditional signing period starting Feb. 7 and running until April 1 for Division I and Aug. 1 for Division II.

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At Scarborough High on Monday, senior Lana Djuranovic signed her NLI to play soccer at the University of Miami in Florida, two days after she scored the winning goal for the Red Storm in a 2-0 Class A state championship win against Bangor. Djuranovic also scored the winner in the team’s 2022 championship victory, earning Varsity Maine All-State honors.

Scarborough’s Lana Djuranovic dribbles the ball through Bangor defenders during the Class A girls’ soccer championship game on Saturday at Lewiston High. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“This day means a lot. I always knew I wanted to play in college,” Djuranovic said. “Last winter, especially after the high school season, winning states, I knew I couldn’t let (soccer) go. I always knew Miami was at the top. Not just the soccer part, but the whole school. I toured it when (her older sister, Una) did and we both fell in love with it at the same time.”

Freeport senior Eli Spaulding signed his NLI to play golf at Loyola of Maryland in Baltimore on Wednesday. Spaulding won his third Class B state individual title earlier this fall. Spaulding also was recruited by URI, Penn State, George Mason and Florida Gulf Coast.

“To play Division I golf, coming from Maine, I knew it was going to be a hard process and it was,” Spaulding said. “It takes a lot of traveling, it takes a lot of practice. But it really feels rewarding, knowing that my practice, my work, everything has kind of paid off.”

Freeport senior Eli Spaulding won his third straight Class B title this fall. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Cheverus plans to celebrate several athletes signing on Wednesday, including Maddie Fitzpatrick (UMaine women’s basketball), Lily Johnson (Boston University field hockey), Brendan Rogers (Holy Cross track and field) and Georgia Nolan (Division II Franklin Pierce women’s lacrosse).

Other field hockey players expected to sign NLIs include Noble’s Jenna Baxter (Sacred Heart), Marshwood’s Erika Parker (Wagner College) and Gorham’s Hannah Bickford (Stonehill) with Division I programs. Biddeford’s Cadence Goulet signed her NLI Monday to attend Division II Franklin Pierce.

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From softball, Portland’s Sadie Armstrong will sign on Wednesday to play for Longwood University, a Division I program in Virginia. Windham’s Brooke Gerry, the 2023 Varsity Maine Player of the Year, signed her NLI last week to attend Rhode Island. York’s McKayla Kortes (Merrimack) signed Monday and Gorham’s Amber Bretton (Connecticut) plans to sign Tuesday.

Several baseball players who play club ball with the Maine Lightning have signed or will soon sign with Division I or II programs, including Greely third baseman Mark Axelsen (Division II Bentley), Yarmouth pitcher/outfielder Andrew Cheever (Merrimack), Falmouth catcher Ethan Hendry (Division II Emory Riddle), Leavitt Area third baseman/outfielder Noah Carpenter (UMaine), Camden Hills pitcher Hunter Bell (Stonehill) and Scarborough pitcher Harrison Griffiths (Bentley). In addition, Kennebunk pitcher Drew Sliwkowski is headed to UMass-Amherst, which recently withdrew scholarship aid from its baseball team. Brian Connolly of Bowdoinham, formerly at Cheverus and now attending Winchendon School in Massachusetts, will be signing with Wake Forest.

Other athletes expected to sign include Addisen Sulikowski, Thornton Academy girls’ basketball (St. Anselm), Caleb Vacchiano, Sacopee Valley baseball (UMaine) and Kennebunk girls’ lacrosse players Calia Keenan (Assumption) and Miranda Godek (Lynn University).

Staff writer Drew Bonifant and Michael Hoffer of The Forecaster contributed to this story.

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