BBA's Hannah Pinkus signs letter of intent with Colgate

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MANCHESTER — A two-year wait to sign her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Colgate University lasted one extra day for Hannah Pinkus.

The Burr and Burton Academy senior had verbally committed to Colgate as a sophomore, and she was ready to put that commitment in writing on Wednesday, the NCAA's National Letter of Intent signing day.

So you can imagine how she felt when about a foot of snow fell on the Northshire and closed school, putting off the signing until Thursday.

"That was kind of a bummer because all of my friends from my club team were signing," she said.

The extra 24 hours didn't spoil the moment, as Pinkus, surrounded by family and friends, signed her letter of intent to play Division I soccer for the Raiders in the lobby of BBA's E.H. Henry Gymnasium. She's the second BBA girls' soccer player in as many years to sign with an NCAA Division I program, following Brooke Woodard's commitment to the University of South Carolina last year.

"I've been waiting for this for almost two years. It feels really great to make it official," Pinkus said Thursday. "It was great to finally see everything on paper."

Seated at a table decorated with balloons in BBA green and gold and Colgate red and white, Pinkus was joined by her sister and teammate Grace Pinkus, by her coach, Suzanne Mears, and by friends, teammates, parents and grandparents. That show of support "means the world to me," Pinkus said.

Grace Pinkus, a junior at BBA, said she was "incredibly proud" of her older sister and teammate.

"It's just been amazing to see it all pay off for her. It's exciting to see it come to a happy ending," she said.

A four-year starter at BBA and two-time team captain, Hannah Pinkus, a midfielder, scored 30 goals for the Bulldogs and assisted 11 more in her career, despite losing her junior year season to a knee injury.

"Hannah Pinkus is in my opinion one of the most skilled athletes that I've coached, watched and played with," Mears said. "She has an impeccable first touch, she sees the field very well, and she's a rock out there on the field. Her skill sets are just far above most of her opponents and I'm so excited to see what this next chapter brings for her."

It was an emotional moment for Mears as well, as Pinkus is the only player who has been with her all four of her seasons as coach.

"A piece of me is going to be missing, I can say that with certainty," Mears said of starting next season without Pinkus. "She has been with me every step of the way. It's going to be a change for sure, but I know she's ready for this and I'm just so thrilled for her."

Pinkus' parents Brenton and Katie Pinkus of Manchester were among the family and friends gathered for the occasion.

"She worked hard for four years. It's great to see the benefit of that hard work," Brenton Pinkus said. "She did have other options to go to other schools and this was the best academic school."

Her mother, Katie Pinkus, was pleased by how Colgate stuck by its commitment to her daughter despite the knee injury that she sustained as a junior. "It was never a question," she said.

Asked about her choice, Hannah Pinkus said she was comfortable with Colgate from the moment she stepped foot on the school's Hamilton, N.Y. campus.

"Once I went on my visit and met the coaching staff and saw the school I knew that was where I wanted to be and I never really doubted my decision," she said.

"I love the coaching staff. They're very supportive of me,' she said. "The school itself is extremely good — that was another important factor, to not only go to a good soccer school but to go to a good academic school as well."

Pinkus is part of a recruiting class of eight new arrivals at Colgate, which went 10-7-2 overall and 5-2-2 in the Patriot League last season.

In an email, Colgate coach Kathy Brawn told the Journal she is "thrilled" that Pinkus will be joining the Raiders.

"In Hannah we know we are getting a determined, hard working, intelligent young woman. She is a leader on and off the field, and possesses a high soccer IQ which will help in her transition to the Division I level of play," Brawn said. "Add to that the fact that she is an outstanding human being, and you can see why we are looking forward to Hannah being a part of the Colgate soccer family. "

Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000 or at gsukiennik@manchesterjournal.com.

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