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Arruda, Eastern duo make college choices

Paige Arruda visited many colleges.

Paige Arruda visited many colleges.

Her last trip was her best.

"I just loved the feeling on that campus," Arruda said of her recent visit to the University of Richmond. "I knew it was the right place for me."

Arruda, a senior swimming star at Haddonfield, has committed to attend Richmond and swim for the Spiders.

Also, juniors Alana Barry and Julia Osisek of Eastern have made commitments to continue their field hockey careers at Division I programs.

Barry became the fifth Eastern player to commit to Iowa in the last three years, and Osisek committed to James Madison.

Arruda, a versatile swimmer who specializes in the 500 and 200 freestyle for Haddonfield, has helped the Bulldogs to three consecutive South Jersey Public B titles as well as the 2009 Public B state title.

Haddonfield is a strong contender for both crowns again this season.

Arruda, who swims for the Jersey Wahoos as well as Wedgewood Swim Club in Haddonfield, said she was attracted by Richmond's size, academic reputation, and improving swim team.

"I go to a small school, and Richmond is a small school," Arruda said. "They have a great liberal arts program, but they are strong in a lot of areas so I could switch to something else.

"The swimming program is getting better and better, and I could see myself improving as a swimmer along with the team."

Osisek was a top defender for an Eastern team that went 27-1 last season and won its 12th consecutive state Group 4 title. Her decision to attend James Madison was special to Eastern coach Danyle Heilig, a James Madison graduate.

"I look forward to her senior year, but I know she's going to blossom as a 'Duke Dog,' " Heilig said.

Barry is one of the state's top goalies. She had 20 shutouts last season and has 58 for her career.

"Alana got an opportunity this season to demonstrate to the state of New Jersey what an outstanding goalie she is, not just a good goalie with an outstanding team in front of her," Heilig said.

At Iowa, Barry likely will join Eastern graduates Geena Lesiak and Kelsey Mitchell as well as current Eastern seniors Cori Allen and Brittany Evangelisti, who have committed to attend Iowa next year.

Looking ahead to the fall of 2012, when five Eastern players could be on the Hawkeyes' roster, Heilig said, "Needless to say, I'll be taking a trip to Iowa that season."