Two Greenbrier High School soccer players caught the attention of the same college coach, and the friends will now play for the same school.
Johnny Paletar, a goalkeeper for the Wolfpack's boys team, signed on Feb. 6 to play soccer for Shorter College. Fellow senior Mary Kate Lollar, a member of the Wolfpack girls team, joined Paletar in signing with the school.
Both will play for Josh Severns, who coaches the Hawks men's and women's soccer programs.
Paletar finished his freshman season with a 27-12 record as a 103-pound wrestler in his native Maryland.
He broke his shoulder during his sophomore season before coming back to post a 36-16 record as a junior at Greenbrier. He was the captain of the wrestling squad this year before he quit.
"I thought I had a better run in soccer," Paletar said.
Paletar signed after multiple visits and talks with Hawks midfielder Dallas Dickerson, his friend and former teammate at Greenbrier.
"He spoke to Dallas about how things were here," Severns said. "Johnny seemed really interested after that."
The decision ended Paletar's high-school careers in wrestling and baseball. The senior moved to Columbia County two years ago from Maryland, where he played all three sports.
He was told by a University of Maryland wrestling coach that the Terrapins wanted to watch him wrestle. He also was a standout baseball player, but said the scholarship from Shorter made it easier to forego the other two.
Severns said he believes Paletar has the raw ability, but needs some technical work. He also said the Hawks were running short on goalkeepers and there was a good opportunity for Paletar to earn immediate playing time.
"I need to get faster," he said. "I'm going to get better at everything."
Severns first noticed Lollar's attitude while scouting her club team.
"She's just a bright, young girl," Severns said. "Very positive."
Lollar has played primarily at left back. Severns said he likes her as a midfielder.
Where she ultimately lands likely will be determined during preseason scrimmages. But Severns said he liked Lollar's ability to read the field, and that he wouldn't be surprised if she earned significant playing time her freshman season.
"I like the fact that she can play different positions," he said. "Usually, it's a tough adjustment for freshmen, but I think her attitude will really help there."
Both Lollar and Paletar were given workout schedules for the summer.
They also were told if they work hard prior to the preseason, they're more likely to get on the field early.
"I'll probably be busy," Lollar said.
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