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With nearly 50 family, teammates, 10 coaches, friends and other well-wishers watching May 11th, Newark High School senior Lena Ramos signed a National Letter of Intent to attend SUNY Corning Community College in the fall and play softball with the NJCAA Division III Red Barons Women’s Softball Team.
The daughter of Sherry Durgan, who hopes to become a coach/trainer and whose current GPA is 84.55, Ramos will major in exercise science at CCC and play softball with the fourth-in-the-nation ranked community college Women’s Softball team under the leadership of Head Coach Stacy Johnson.
“We are super excited Lena has chosen CCC,” Johnson said during a phone conversation later. “She’s a very solid athlete and great teammate. I’ve heard nothing but positives about her work ethic and we are very excited to have her with us. She’s a great kid.”
“I am beyond excited and grafeful to continue my softball and academic career at SUNY Corning Community College. I appreciate and thank my parents, coaches, teachers, family and friends for supporting me in my journey the last four years and the years to come,” Ramos said after the 3 p.m. signing event in the NHS library and the pizza and cookies reception that followed.
At the signing event, NHS Varsity Girls Softball Coach Geno Phillips enumerated Ramos’ athletic accomplishments.
“I have seen firsthand what type of leader and, more importantly, person Lena has become. She is hard working, responsible and resilient. She was the starting shortstop on a Section V championship softball team and represents our district on the Section V SAAC. In the past two years she has led our team in stolen bases and in the top three of on-base percentage. Lena has developed into and embraced her role as a leader. Her coaches appreciate her hustle and willingness to give it her all in practices and games. She leads by example, always willing to help others, especially younger athletes. She volunteers to work with our modified sports teams and works with our youth in the summer recreation program. While most kids are enjoying their time off, Lena is working with the younger kids all summer long and sharing her passion for sports. Her other coaches define Lena as a young woman of integrity who is respectful and dedicated. Lena never misses practice and commits time to extra work outs, both in and out of season. The way I would explain her approach to athletics is: ‘Don’t aspire to be the best on the team, but aspire to be the best for the team.’ I know she will do great things as she enters this next chapter of her life and can’t wait to watch it.”
In addition to Varsity Girls Softball, Ramos has also played Varsity Girls Basketball and Soccer since she was a sophomore. She began playing all three sports at age 5. She has volunteered at the Alex Eligh Community Center for 6 years and has worked in the summer park program there since she was in 7th grade.
While at NHS, Ramos was a Link Crew member from 2021-2023; a member of Yearbook Committee and Student Council this year; Varsity Club 2022 and 2023; Section V Leadership Committee 2023; and Homecoming Float Committee all four years at NHS
Other sports and academic awards include: Honor roll and Scholar Athlete (2017-2023); For Varsity Girls Softball, 2021 Sportsmanship Award; 2021 Section V Class B1, Champions; 2nd Team All-League 2021; 1st Team All-League 2022, Best Defensive Player 2022. For Varsity Girls Basketball, Sportsmanship award in 2021and 2022. And for Varsity Girls Soccer, 2020 Best Offensive Award; Sportsmanship awards in 2022 and 2023.
“Being the lone senior on this year’s team, we have counted on Lena to be a leader on and off the field. She epitomizes what being a great teammate is all about with her work ethic and commitment to the program. Lena has been a part of some special moments as a member of our softball team, but I am most impressed with her dedication and willingness to share her passion for the game with our young athletes. Good luck, Lena,” said Jonathan Mastin, Director of Physical Education, Health, and Athletics.
“I am so pleased for Lena to be able to continue her education and play the sport she loves. I know that she has a passion for athletics and am sure that will find a home at Corning CC on the field, in the classroom and in activities. She has contributed so much for Newark with sports, volunteering, and academic accomplishments, and we wish her the very best of luck. We’re so proud of you, Lena, as you represent the Reds while you become a Red Baron,” said NHS Principal Kelly Zielke
“Lena is a wonderful student and athlete. I am confident she will do well both academically and at the plate. I wish her nothing but the best as she moves forward with the next step in her life,” said Superintendent Susan Hasenauer.
Lena’s mom, Sherry Durgan, who was her Assistant Varsity Girls Softball coach this year said: As Lena’s Mom I am beyond proud of the student, athlete, and person she has become. Lena never ceases to amaze me with her talent on and off the field. She is self-driven and strives to achieve excellence in all she does in both sports and life. When Lena sets a goal, she sets her eyes on the final outcome until she achieves it. She can also always be counted on to brighten a day with her warm and welcoming smile. Lena loves her friends and family which continues to grow with each new sport and season. Once you meet Lena you become one of her own. I cannot wait to see what the future will bring for her.
Sonny Stefanides, Lena’s stepdad, said: “Fifteen years ago, Lena accepted me as her father. There were some battles for sure but it was all worth it. I’m so proud of her dedication to fulfill her accomplishments and goals. But what I am most proud about is the caring and thoughtful person she became.”