Local athletes sign, commit to Division I colleges
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Two local athletes – Molly Desotell and Brigitta Neverman – will both be heading to Division I colleges to continue their academic and athletic careers.
Desotell signs with St. Thomas
The senior Desotell, from Notre Dame Academy, will be running cross country and track for the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) beginning this fall after signing her National Letter of Intent Feb. 8.
St. Thomas, currently participating at the Division III level, will be transitioning to Division I this fall.
“There were three things that stuck out for me in choosing St. Thomas,” said Desotell. “First, it’s a good academic school. It’s going to be weird going from the colors green and blue (at Notre Dame) to purple, but I promise not to become a (Minnesota) Vikings fan. Secondly, the campus is beautiful within a big urban city. Lastly, the coaches and team felt like a team to me, much like at Notre Dame.”
Desotell competed at the WIAA state cross country meet all four years while at Notre Dame, finishing sixth this past fall in the Division 1 meet.
She finished in the top-10 at state her last three years at Notre Dame.
Desotell also advanced to the state track and field meet once, qualifying as a leg of the 3,200-meter relay team as a sophomore.
Desotell also considered Division I schools Madison, Minnesota, Marquette, South Carolina, Furman and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
“Molly is a beautiful soul, with a soft voice and a kind heart,” said Notre Dame cross country coach John Gard. “She comes across as a gentle kitten, but when she races, she has the heart of a lion hunting prey. Molly is St. Thomas’ first big recruit with its move to Division I. It’s a great compliment to her they will build the new program around her.”
Molly is the daughter of Kim and Tim Desotell and plans to pursue a business degree at St. Thomas.
Neverman to swim at Illinois
The Green Bay Preble junior Neverman recently verbally committed to swim at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
“It’s been a long recruiting process, especially with COVID-19,” said Neverman. “I’ve been talking to Illinois for quite a while, so I’m glad the process is done – it was stressful. The coaches made me feel welcome, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the program. Swimming in the Big Ten will be competitive.”
Neverman and her mother recently drove to the campus and looked around, but she didn’t meet with the coaches while there.
She also considered Division I schools Iowa State and Eastern Michigan.
“The Illinois campus is beautiful,” she said. “I initially wanted to swim closer to home, but Illinois is only a five-hour drive.”
Neverman, whose specialties are the butterfly, backstroke and the individual medley (IM), won’t sign her National Letter of Intent until November.
“I’m not sure yet how it will shake out my freshman year, but I’ll learn more when I talk to the coaches,” she said. “I do know I’ll swim right away my first year.”
Preble moved all its fall sports last year to the alternate spring season this year, with the first day of high school girls’ swimming practice Feb. 8.
Her best 100-yard butterfly time (55.67) at Preble would have been Illinois’ top result last season, while her 200 IM time (2:03.98) would have put her second on the team.
Neverman’s brother, Kaiser, is currently swimming at the University of Minnesota, a Division I school in Minneapolis.
“Kaiser gave me the motivation and inspiration to work hard,” said Neverman. “He’s a great role model and humble. He recently won his first event (200 butterfly) at Minnesota. We were excited for him.”
Neverman has set some lofty goals for herself.
“I’d love to make an Olympic Trials cut, score at the Big Ten meet and even make the NCAA meet,” she said. “Big Ten schools look for their swimmers to score at the conference meet – that’s a big deal.”
Brigitta is the daughter of Heidi and Brock Neverman.