SAUGUS — A pair of Saugus High athletes penned their National Letters of Intent earlier this week and both will continue their careers as student-athletes at Division I programs. Sachems girls soccer star Allison LeBlanc signed a NLI to play at UMass Lowell, while baseball pitcher Todd Tringale inked his letter for UMass Amherst.
Both Sachems were joined by friends, family and coaches at a ceremony Wednesday morning at Saugus High.
LeBlanc, a senior center-midfielder/center-defender, committed to UMass Lowell in August. She considered a handful of other schools as she weighed her options but felt joining the River Hawks was the right choice.
“It felt really good deciding where I wanted to go,” LeBlanc said. “I really liked Lowell. The team was really good and I really liked the coaching staff. They seem like a really good team. I’m excited to be considered as someone who they feel can come in and contribute. I was really excited to make it official. It was a good feeling.
“There were a few other schools I was looking at but UMass Lowell was definitely my top school.”
LeBlanc is interested in studying biology and pursuing a career in science.
“I was looking at both academics and athletics,” LeBlanc said. “I wanted a school that could meet both of these. I really want to pursue a career in science so I was looking for a good school for that. I was really serious about playing soccer so I wanted a school that was serious as well. Lowell’s a perfect fit.”
A four-year varsity player at Saugus, LeBlanc helped the Sachems reach the state tournament in each of her four seasons wearing the red and white uniform. This past fall they reached the Division 3 North state tournament as the No. 2 seed after a 15-2-1 regular season. Saugus defeated No. 15 Bedford in the first round before falling to No. 7 Swampscott, the eventual sectional champion, in the quarterfinal.
“Each year we made it to the tournament,” LeBlanc said in reflecting on her career at Saugus High. “The first three years we fell short in the first round. This year we managed to win a game and make it to the second round. I think it was a good feeling, especially for the seniors who worked hard during all four years. I think it was a really good journey.”
Tringale, a right-handed pitcher, also plays third base and left field. He showcased his talents at the Lynn Invitational in August and started receiving calls from interested college coaches shortly after.
“I did the Lynn Invitational and met with the (UMass Amherst) pitching and recruiting coach,” Tringale, a senior, said. “They asked me to visit the campus, which I did a few weeks later. I met the head coach (Matt Reynolds) and he made me an offer. A few months later I went back out there to meet with the coaching staff.
“I’d say the Lynn Invitational was most beneficial to me,” he continued. “I did the Bay State Games for two years. I did the Lynn Invitational last year and had a few college coaches talk with me. This year, I pitched two innings and I had about nine college coaches call me each day. It was really beneficial to me.”
Although Tringale knows challenges are ahead when he joins the Division I Minutemen, he feels excited to jump those hurdles.
“Just knowing that I’m going to play with kids known for being great in baseball can be nerve-wracking,” Tringale said. “It’s also great to know that I worked hard enough to get to the level that I’m at now.”
As a junior last spring, Tringale went 5-2 with a 2.56 ERA and fanned 82 batters in 57 1/3 innings pitched. He pitched a perfect game against Stoneham and helped lead Saugus to the Division 3 North state tournament.
With his future plans no longer in question, Tringale feels he’s primed for a stellar senior season.
“It’s taken a stress off me knowing that I won’t be worried about getting into any schools,” Tringale said. “It’s all planned out for me. The only stressful parts were making sure my essay and my application were good enough. It saves me a lot of money with applying for schools. This helps out a lot.
“I’m feeling comfortable,” he continued. “I’ll work my hardest like I always do. I think I performed to the best of my ability last year and I think this upcoming year will be even better knowing that I feel more confident.”