Jalon White and Sarah Pandolfi are two of the best athletes in Indians’ history, having put forth numerous dominating performances on the football and soccer field, respectively. On Feb. 27, both seniors took a major step toward shining in a larger spotlight by signing their letters of intent to compete in college during a ceremony at the North Haven High School library.
White, who set a program record with 1,824 rushing yards last fall and totaled over 3,800 with 48 touchdowns for his career, will play cornerback at Assumption College, a Division II school in Worcester, Mass. He was accompanied at the signing by his mother Antoinette White and grandfather Leroy Sumner.
Pandolfi, a forward who had 18 goals with eight assists as a senior and netted 55 career scores, inked her name to compete for Division I University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was joined at the signing table by her mother Lynn Pandolfi.
Athletic Director Todd Petronio read a few kind words at the ceremony, calling White “a fierce competitor” and Pandolfi “someone who always wants the ball when it counts.” He also told both athletes to always appreciate the support they’ve received from the relatives sitting beside them and that he hoped they would each forever have a place in their heart for the maroon and white. Petronio then presented White and Pandolfi with sweaters representing their new schools, after which they both took some time to share their thoughts about this monumental occasion.
White, a three-time All-SCC and Levi Jackson recipient who was the Indians’ MVP in his senior season, will attend Assumption on a full scholarship.
“All the signs pointed to me going to Assumption. The other day I was trying to catch the bus and, when I did, it was on Assumption Street. I also had a great vibe when I visited the school and their coaching staff made me feel like they were really interested in me,” White said. “I love that all these people came here to support me when they didn’t have to and I’m happy knowing I made some friends along the way. I’ll always remember the work ethic I learned at North Haven and that you have to keep your family close because family means a lot.”
The person who presides over the Indians’ football family is Head Coach Anthony Sagnella, who was filled with pride to see White put his name on the dotted line.
“I’m exited for Jalon’s opportunity and I’m sure he will do fine as he adjusts,” Sagnella said. “Not only is Jalon a quick and athletic kid, he’s also fearless and plays with extreme toughness. Jalon is also the type of person whose personality brightens the huddle with an infectious smile.”
Pandolfi was also all smiles on this day. The three-time All-Oronoque selection and two-time All-State honoree said she was excited to play Division I soccer at a school that’s not too far from home.
“To come this far and get to play DI is unbelievable. I fell in love with the campus and really liked the coaching staff,” Pandolfi said. “I’m thankful for the support of my family and hope that the UMass soccer family is just like the one at North Haven. Coach [Brittany] Collard brought our team together and this school is the closest-knit one I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Coach Collard attended the ceremony and extended nothing but praise to Pandolfi for the impact she had on her program the past four seasons.
“I am obviously so proud of Sarah. She has a love for soccer that shows up every day and, when you need a goal, she’s the player you look to,” said Collard. “Sarah will fit in just fine at UMass due to her competitive nature, grit, and determination. She will show that she belongs.”