Callie Good is taking her soccer talents to Division I Canisius in Buffalo next fall after signing on the dotted line Wednesday afternoon in Palmyra.
Callie Good is taking her soccer talents to Division I Canisius in Buffalo next fall after signing on the dotted line Wednesday afternoon in Palmyra. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS JEREMY LONG)
PALMYRA - For the majority of the population, Wednesday was just another day in a long, cold winter.

But if you're a hardworking, gifted high school athlete, Feb. 6, 2013 was Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and the Fourth of July all rolled into a sports-themed national holiday.

That's the impact National Signing Day has come to have on society, and it was certainly no different at Palmyra Area High School on Wednesday, with no less than seven Cougars announcing their intention to continue their athletic and academic careers at the collegiate level.

Leading the parade was girls' soccer standout Callie Good, who put her signature on a national letter-of-intent to attend Division I Canisius in Buffalo.

Joining Good in the signing-day limelight at Palmyra were field hockey players Olivia Young and Amber Bailey, both of whom are heading to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, feisty overachiever Tyler Morder (baseball, Seton Hill University), two-sport standout Bryce Betz (swimming, baseball, Lebanon Valley College), and top-notch lacrosse performers Evan Downey (Cabrini) and John Bernhard (Immaculata).

It was difficult to determine which of them was most excited that the long-awaited day had finally arrived.

"It's something we were all so excited for," said Good, a defensive anchor and captain for the Cougars on the pitch. "None of us could sleep last night. It's something we've worked our whole lives for. All the hard work and practices you didn't always necessarily want to go to, now it's all worth it.

"It's great seeing people from other sports in your school excel and all get to be a part of it. And not only just here at Palmyra. There's so many people signing. I know some of my friends from Canisius are signing in Florida, and Canada, and Michigan. You're a part of something so much bigger now, which is really awesome."

A similar scenario played out at Palmyra last National Signing Day during another large group gathering of future collegiate athletes. It was a tradition athletic director Brian Weidler was happy to see continue.

"We feel blessed," Weidler said. "I think we have a rich tradition of athletics here, and I continue to attribute that to our community support and excellent coaching staffs."

Adding to Weidler's good feelings was the fact that those college-bound athletes also continue to come from a wide variety of sports.

"There's plenty of opportunity here, and we're going to continue to support those programs," Palmyra's AD said. "The feeder programs for all these sports represented is very strong, and we look forward to continued success."

Of course, that success and the rewards that came with it for those athletes who signed on Wednesday didn't happen overnight.

On hand to sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday at Palmyra were, front row from left, Callie Good, Amber Bailey and Olivia Young. Back row
On hand to sign their national letters of intent on Wednesday at Palmyra were, front row from left, Callie Good, Amber Bailey and Olivia Young. Back row are John Bernhard, Tyler Morder, Evan Downey and Bryce Betz. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS JEREMY LONG)
In fact, Good and her fellow signees have put in so much time and committed so much of themselves over the years that they almost couldn't believe that the time to reap the benefits had finally come.

"I was telling my parents last night, I can't believe it's actually here," Good said. "This is so exciting, it's really sinking in now. Because this is something that, honestly, I've been thinking of since I was in fifth grade. I remember thinking, 'I want to play Division I soccer.' It's so surreal now that it's actually happening.

"I think it's something that everybody sort of had in their mind that they wanted to do. It's awesome to see people actually be able to follow through doing what they wanted."