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When Colten Brookens first stepped onto the football field for Chambersburg's varsity team, the thing he noticed most was the speed.

"Going from freshman ball to varsity football, it was like night and day," Brookens said. "It was so much faster, and it took me almost a year just to get accustomed to how fast the game was."

Brookens got a taste of an even faster football game when he played in the PSFCA East-West All-Star game last month, and Brookens is hoping that soon he'll see that speed constantly. But first, he'll attend East Coast Prep to play a semester at linebacker with the ultimate goal of going to a Division I college.

"I'm glad I did get to play in that game because it gave me a good idea of what it will be like when I go to college," Brookens said. "My main goal for next year is to get faster. I mean, I need to get a little taller, but I can't really control that. I'm looking to get faster and get a little bigger so that when I do go to college, I'll have enough quickness to get to the outside."

Brookens played inside linebacker for the Trojans but may be moved around depending on opposing defenses. He originally planned to attend Alderson Broaddus University, but when that didn't work out, he turned his attention to possibly attending a prep school. The coaches at East Coast showed the most interest, and after a visit to the campus in Great Barrington, Mass., he was hooked.

"I'm actually glad it didn't work out (with Alderson Broadus) because it opened up so many more opportunities for me," Brookens said. "After talking with (coach Dick Bell), I really like how he's going to run his program and how they do things up there. That was the biggest factor for me."

Brookens said Bell has connections with coaches from the Mid-American Conference and the Big 10 as well as a few PSAC schools.

PAIR OF HOUNDS HEAD TO PSU SCHUYLKILL >> Penn State Schuylkill will be infused with some local talent next year, as Shippensburg's Nate Reiner and Nick Jacoby are both headed there.

Reiner and Jacoby helped the Greyhounds to the Mid Penn Colonial Division baseball championships, and both will continue their baseball careers. Reiner played shortstop for Ship, while Jacoby was the catcher.

Jacoby will especially have his plate full, as he plans to also play basketball for the Lions. Jacoby was a Public Opinion Second-Team All-Star as a senior.

RUSSO JUMPS TO NEXT LEVEL >> Chambersburg's Jacob Russo will be attending East Stroudsburg University to participate on the men's track & field team.

East Stroudsburg is a PSAC school. Russo participated in the long and triple jumps as a Trojan.

LOCAL DUO TO KEEP PLAYING BALL >> Seniors from two of the area's top teams will be continue their ball careers at the collegiate level.

Abbie Doyka, James Buchanan's catcher, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Potomac State College of WVU. Doyka finished her senior season with 19 hits, 19 RBIs and 16 runs scored.

Southern Fulton centerfielder Dillan Lashley plans to attend Allegany College of Maryland, a community college in Cumberland, to play baseball. This season, Lashley has a .286 batting average but is third on the team with 24 RBIs and leads the Indians with four home runs.

TWO STAYING NEARBY >> A pair of local athletes will be keeping it close to home when they attend Shippensburg University to compete in track & field.

Fannett-Metal's Tom Peppernick just completed a fine senior season, earning a District 5 record in the discus and taking home a gold medal at the PIAA Class AA Championships.

Joining him will be Tatiana Purnell, of Mercersburg Academy, had a storied career for the Blue Storm and holds a total of six indoor and outdoor school records.

BLUE STORM SEND OFF 8 >> Eight members of Mercersburg Academy's senior class have announced their commitments to continue their athletic careers. They joins 12 Blue Storm athletes that have previously declared their commitments.

This group includes Tristan Baker (Shenandoah University, baseball), Ellie Clark (Saint Michael's College, women's lacrosse), Gustavo Farina (Trinity, men's soccer), Lauren Greenberg (Navy, women's swimming), Chloe Kargodorian (Army, women's swimming), Brandon McCredie (Army, men's swimming), Matt McPheters (Army, men's swimming), and T.J. Powers (Navy, men's soccer).

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