Reese lands Purdue diving scholarship

Samm Reese has definitely made a big splash in her high school athletic career.

Reese, daughter of Martins Ferry natives Don and Janie (Patrone) Reese, has inked a National Letter of Intent to attend Purdue University. She will be a member of the Boilermakers’ diving team in the fall of 2014.

Reese selected the West Lafayette, Ind.-based school over a host of heavyweight programs. In addiiton to Purdue, she made official visits to Notre Dame, UCLA, WVU, North Carolina and Clemson.

Reese’s senior season commenced late last month at St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, Ind. Samm, who holds a host of school and pool records, is expected to be a strong contender for a state title this campaign.

Purdue boasts one of the top diving programs in the country, featuring Olympic coach Adam Soldati. Reese’s new teammates at Purdue will include both NCAA champions and Olympic qualifiers.

Reese qualified for the Junior Nationals this past summer in both 3M and 1M as well as her fourth place finish in 3M. Her junior national’s strong performance helped draw the attention of Division I college recruiters across the country.

“My gut told me this was the place. Very good fit with a great program run by a great coach with Olympic experience. He has trained many Olympians including a 2012 gold medalist and I have a goal of making it to trials in either or both of 2016 & 2020,” Reese said. “My goal is to contribute as a freshman and train to compete at 5-, 7- and 10-meter platform.

“The Purdue team is more of a family atmosphere. I felt the chemistry and girls were awesome. It didn’t hurt that my host was NCAA champion Casey Mathews,” she added. “With hard work and commitment, Coach Soldati and his program was best opportunity to get to an elite level academically and athletically. Having only three years of diving experience, I believe I have a lot more room to grow and advance my skills. Plus, my family can attend many meets in West Lafayette, Notre Dame and around the Big Ten in the Midwest.”

Reese has qualified for the state finals all three years, earning a medal as a junior. She is ranked sixth in state of Indiana this year based on last year’s scores. Reese is undefeated in first three meets this year.

Reese is still undecided on her academic major, but leaning toward sports marketing and possibly a minor in Spanish. The Spanish minor would come in handy as she and her family perform volunteer work with Friends of the Orphans in Honduras.

Samm’s dad, Don, was a standout quarterback for the Purple Riders in the 1970s. Her mother, Janie, meanwhile, is the daughter of Bellaire High and WVU hoop legend Lee Patrone. Don’s parents still reside in Martins Ferry.

Samm is also the niece of Martins Ferry boys’ assistant basketball coach and athletic director Kim Appolloni.

Reese cut her athletic teeth in gymnastics. She has been a seven-year competitive gymnast, climbing to level nine.