SAUGANASH — The Queen of All Saints School Class of 2010 had 61 graduates.
Six of them — all good friends since preschool who live within blocks of each other and the large Catholic parish in Sauganash — will be playing sports at Division I schools.
"It isn't all too surprising. I know all the kids very well and know how hard they work and how athletic they are," said Loyola Academy senior Michael Abrahamson, who chose Wisconsin to continue his golf career. "It's so great we can represent Queens this way."
Abrahamson joins fellow Loyola seniors Jack Gleason (Air Force Academy, football), Annie Dooley (Notre Dame, lacrosse), Maggie Nick (Stanford, lacrosse) and Emily Barr (Fairfield, swimming), plus St. Ignatius College Prep 12th-grader Katie Gallagher (Illinois, softball) as Queens alums who will take their talents to Division I.
"It's a great feeling that so many of my grade school classmates are continuing the sport they love at a very elite level," Gleason said.
The six student-athletes certainly have earned the right to compete among college's upper ranks.
Abrahamson was all-conference all four years, plus a Catholic League and regional champion. Gleason, a Ramblers defensive back, was named all-conference, all-area and all-state. Gallagher, also a standout basketball and volleyball player for Ignatius, broke the school's single-season home run record with 16 bombs this year heading into the IHSA playoffs.
"It's exciting that we are able to participate in Division I sports and continue something that we love," said Barr, who was team MVP as a junior and captain this year.
Barr said the group has been showing up at each other's games since grade school at Queens, which runs preschool through eighth grade. Their friendships are so tight that Barr said they "can count on one another for anything."
"I could walk into their houses any day for help," Abrahamson said.
Gleason credited Queens for being the place where he first developed a love for football. Barr said being immersed in Queens' competitive environment was key for her acclimation to prep athletics.
"The coaches stressed the importance of being a team player and cheering each other on," Barr said.
Now, all six can continue those cheers at some of the nation's top athletic programs.
"It makes me very proud to be part of a community that thrives in so many aspects such as athletics, academics and extra activities," Gallagher said.
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