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alumnae-professional-sport-and-transfer-collage-roundup

Top row (from left to right): Phoebe Sterba, AJ Brodeur, Nia Akins, Adam Goldner, and Mark Evanchick. Middle row (from left to right): Alexa Hoover, Kyle Wilcox (second to left), and Kyle Thorton, Kyle Gallagher, and Mitchell Holcomb. Bottom row (from left to right): Christian Scafidi, Peter Matt, Evan Lee, and Ryan Betley.

Credit: Yosef Robele , Chase Sutton, Son Nguyen, Future Kortor, Eliud Vargas, Izzy Crawford-Eng, USA Bobsled/Skeleton

Penn's athletes often go pro or transfer to continue their careers, but with the COVID-19 pandemic cutting seasons short and adding uncertainty to the future, the past few months have seen more movement than usual. Here's a roundup of what recent graduates are up to since their time on campus.

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

Always check your LinkedIn messages. 2020 graduate Phoebe Sterba, who ranks second in Penn women’s basketball history with 186 made three-pointers, will be heading to Ireland to play professional basketball and complete a master’s degree after hearing about the opportunity via the networking website. She will return to the court for the Meteors Basketball Club while studying at Trinity College in Dublin.

Penn basketball legend AJ Brodeur signed a professional basketball contract in Germany with MHP Riesen after wrapping up his final record-breaking season with the Red and Blue. Brodeur, who is Penn’s all-time leader in points, games, and blocked shots, chose to sign with the team in large part because of how close its style of play is to the Quakers, and he will hope to bring his success overseas.

Graduated senior Nia Akins became the first runner in her year to sign with a professional club when she joined the Brooks Beasts in Seattle. Akins was a record breaker with the Red and Blue, running the second fastest 200-meter dash in NCAA history and led the Quakers to multiple Ivy League Heptagonals championships. Her next two goals? Settling into a nursing job and training for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

From Philadelphia to Porto, Emily Sands brings her soccer skills wherever she goes. The 2020 graduate signed with Portugal's Boavista FC this summer and is already transitioning to life in Europe. The 2018 first team All-Ivy honoree totaled 17 goals in 63 appearances for the Red and Blue, and will look to carry her strong form abroad. Although she's still working on her Portuguese, the language of soccer is a universal one.

A pair of May alumni, Mark Evanchick and Adam Goldner, were drafted by the Philadelphia Barrage of Major League Lacrosse just before their graduation. Evanchick was selected ninth overall and became the first Quaker chosen in the first two rounds of the draft. Goldner was taken in the eighth round but will return to the Red and Blue for a fifth year, so fans will still be able to see him play for Penn next season.

2018 graduate and former United States Women’s National Development Team member Alexa Hoover is continuing her career as a coach for La Salle while rehabbing from injuries. Hoover was selected for the USNDT just after graduation and subsequently rejoined Penn’s program as Director of Operations for one season. If all goes according to Hoover’s plan, she’ll soon be back on the field for the Stars and Stripes.

2016 graduate and former Penn football standout Kyle Wilcox is now a member of the 12-man Team USA bobsled team, and said that many skills he learned on the football field have been transferable to his new sport. Wilcox showed his versatility early on for the Quakers as he played on both offense and defense and helped the team win an Ivy League title in 2012.

COLLEGE TRANSFERS

After their senior seasons were cut short due to COVID-19, Kyle Gallagher and Kyle Thornton of men's lacrosse will both be transferring to Notre Dame to continue playing the sport there. Although the two are close friends, they came to their decisions independently.

His time with the Quakers is over, but his time on the mound isn’t. Graduated senior and former Penn pitcher Mitchell Holcomb is taking his talents to the Lone Star State to pitch for Rice. It will be a big loss for the Red and Blue as he led the team in strikeouts with 51 as a junior last season.

2019 Ivy League Pitcher of the Year and recent graduate Christian Scafidi will play out his final year of eligibility at ACC powerhouse Notre Dame. Scafidi went 6-1 in Ancient Eight play in his final full season, compiling a League-low earned run average of 2.62 across 68.2 innings pitched. When he takes the field for the Fighting Irish next season, he will be one to keep an eye on.

Former Penn baseball outfielder Peter Matt will continue his career at Duke as a graduate transfer. Before his senior season was cut short due to COVID-19, he was leading the Ivy League in hits and ranked 10th in the nation with a .457 batting average. Matt hopes that his time with the Blue Devils will prepare him for a career in the MLB.

Decathlete Evan Lee is another recent graduate who will compete for Duke next season while working towards his master's degree. After breaking Penn's indoor heptathlon record last December, Lee had high hopes for his final outdoor campaign before it was cut short. As a Blue Devil, he will compete with some of the nation's best athletes in ACC competitions, but he'll always remain loyal to the Red and Blue.

2020 graduate Ryan Betley is extending his college career next season with California of the Pac-12. Betley was granted an extra year of eligibility after a knee injury sidelined him for most of his junior season, although he came back strong to average 11.6 points a game in his final year with the Red and Blue. The Downingtown, Pa. native will look to help the Golden Bears capture their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2016.

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