ST. CLOUD -- It was a special day for two St. Cloud Apollo student athletes as they signed their letters of intent to play for two local colleges.

Ethan Novacinski will play basketball for St. John's University and Amanda Haley will play softball for the College of St. Benedict.

Both Novacinski and Haley say staying close to home was a major factor in their decisions.

"I wanted to stay close to home and I felt that St. John's was the best fit for me," Novacinski says. "I talked to [head coach] Pat McKenzie and he's a nice guy and great coach, so I want to play for him next year."

"[The campus] is seven miles from my house," Haley says. "So it'll be nice because my little brother was kind of scared for me going to college."

Looking back, Novacinski and Haley share some of their favorite memories playing for Apollo.

"My favorite memory from last season was playing at the Target Center against Little Falls," Novacinski says. "That was really cool."

"Last year in playoffs we were playing Sartell," Haley says. "I got a three-run home run and when I got to home plate I slipped, but [my teammates] picked me up and it was really nice."

Amanda Haley and parents. Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON
Ethan Novacinski and parents. Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON