Not one –– but two –– Kennedy High School athletes have signed their national letters of intent to play at the University of Hartford in Connecticut in 2014-15 –– Justin Ganca and Lauren Sustad. Both are from Merrick and both are 17.
Ganca will play baseball and Sustad, softball. Both have played America’s pastimes since they were small children. And both said they are ecstatic to have made the cut at a Division I school.
Eric Passman is in his 14th year coaching the Kennedy baseball team, and Tom Piccirillo is in his third year coaching softball. Frank Bodner of Batters Up Long Island represented Ganca and Sustad through the college recruitment process.
Ganca has played baseball at Kennedy since he was a freshman and is now captain of the varsity squad. He also plays for a travel team –– the Long Island Storm Academy. He was offered a half-scholarship at Hartford and will study at the Barney School of Business there. Additionally, the 6-foot-tall Ganca has played on Kennedy’s multiple-championship volleyball squad since he was in seventh grade.
Academically, Ganca is taking a course load full of Advanced Placement and honors classes and is a member of the National and Spanish honor societies.
Ganca’s father, Scott, who is in biotechnology pharmaceutical sales, said Ganca selected Hartford because he felt comfortable with the coaching staff. “He really hit it off with the coaches and felt he could grow with them,” Scott Ganca said.
His mother, Stacey, who is the chief financial officer of a travel firm, said she was “thrilled” for her son. “You get out what you put in, and he put in so much hard work,” she said.
Ganca has a sister, Callie, who is in ninth grade, and a brother, Zachary, who is in fourth grade.
Sustad started playing softball at age 4 and was a member of the Merrick-North Merrick Little League’s state championship team in 2007. State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. honored the squad in the Senate chamber that year. In addition to playing for Kennedy, Sustad is also a member of the Frozen Ropes travel team, which is based in Garden City.