Crossley scholars head to US

James Ross, Fraser Darling, Alex Jastremski, Neil Kennedy, Kennedy Keith, Lauren Bench, Amber Drysdale, and Brooke Kew will all be heading to universities in the United States on athletic scholarships in the fall. VOICE PHOTO


Athletes leaving for Harvard, Columbia, other schools


Eight graduating students from E.L. Crossley Secondary School will be heading south of the border on athletic scholarships this fall, the latest crop from a school with an impressive record of placing student-athletes.

Seven of the students, Fraser Darling, Alex Jastremski, Neil Kennedy, Kennedy Keith, Lauren Bench, Amber Drysdale, and Brooke Kew, will be joining the rowing teams of their prospective schools, with James Ross, a lacrosse player, the only non-rower.

Darling will be attending Harvard University, just outside of Boston, while Jastremski will be studying nearby at Boston University. Darling, who turned down an offer from Princeton, has yet to declare his major. Jastremski will be studying human physiology.

Ross will be going to play lacrosse and study teaching and history at Dominican College, which is just north of New York City. Kennedy will row for Columbia University, located on the upper west side of Manhattan.

Three of the four females will be moving to Florida. Lauren Bench and Kennedy Keith are both going to the University of Central Florida, near Orlando, where they will be studying sports and exercise science and medical sciences respectively. Brooke Kew, a coxswain, will be at Jacksonville University, studying biology.

Amber Drysdale will be attending Jacksonville University, where she intends to study animal science.

All of the rowers first began the sport either at the end of Grade 8 or in Grade 9.

“I used to play as many sports as I could,” said Drysdale. “But after I started rowing it was the sport for me.”

Though balancing university studies with their athletic obligations will likely be a challenge, the rowers said that didn’t expect the time required for training to be much greater.

John Ruscitti, a teacher at the school and its long-time rowing coach, has a reputation for pushing his athletes to their limits.

“I was going to quit in Grade 9,” said Bench. “But my dad made me keep going. I didn’t really start to like it until the end of Grade 10.”

“I like rowing when I’m not at it,” joked Kew, describing the years of pre-dawn alarms.

Crossley’s rowing team has a long history of sending team members to scholarships at schools in the US, from Princeton to Syracuse, Tennessee, Michigan State, UCLA, and Tulsa.

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