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Pace Student-Athletes Commit to New Haven, Johns Hopkins & MIT

Pace Academy seniors Gwynnie LaMastra, John King and Alex Bussey have committed to play college athletics at Division II and III schools.
Pace Academy seniors Gwynnie LaMastra, John King and Alex Bussey have committed to play college athletics at Division II and III schools.

On March 7, Pace Academy recognized its senior student-athletes who have committed to continue their athletic careers at Division II and III schools.

Alex Bussey will play volleyball for the University of New Haven Chargers; Gwynnie LaMastra will swim for the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays; John King will play football for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Beavers. All three students have been outstanding athletes for the Pace Academy Knights.

Bussey was a two-year starter for the school’s varsity volleyball team, and she quickly became a dominant middle blocker as a result of her tremendous work ethic and athleticism. She also is a member of the varsity track team and set personal and school records in the triple jump, finishing fourth in the state in 2013. She was a member of the 2013 third-place 4 x 100 state relay team and the seventh-place 4 x 400 state relay team.

Bussey has worked as a counselor for Pace Summer Programs since ninth grade and is a volunteer for Ron Clark Academy and the Emmaus House.

“Alex is special in that she exhibits a natural passion to be an athlete,” says Coach Anna Bush. “She loves to train and to play the game, which will be a huge asset in a collegiate environment. She has a great opportunity to be successful, and I couldn't be more proud.”

LaMastra is a USA Swimming and Scholastic All-American as well as a GHSA All-State swimmer. She holds six Pace Academy records, including the record in her signature event, the 100-breaststroke, which she has broken four years in a row. She qualified for the state championship in the event for four years and finished fourth in the state in 2013 and 2014. She will participate in her second consecutive Junior Nationals meet this month.

In LaMastra’s four years as a varsity Knight, she has qualified for an unprecedented 30 state-championship events, and her junior and senior years, she qualified in every possible event. At the 2014 state meet, she swam four events, made four finals, broke four Pace records and had four top-10 state finishes. She also swam an All-American consideration time in the 100-breaststroke and with her teammates in the 200-medley relay.

“Gwynnie has had four great years with us,” says Coach John Ague. “It’s been exciting to see her growth and development. She’s hardworking and passionate about her teammates. I am proud to see her wind down her high-school career with two All-American consideration performances!”

A quarterback for the Knights, King also has played basketball and soccer for the school. He will receive the Pace Academy Career Contribution Award this spring, which is given to students who participate in all 12 athletic seasons during their high-school careers. King is a member of the National Honor Society and an AP scholar.

“John is a hardworking player,” says Coach Chris Slade. “He’s incredibly smart and focused. MIT is a perfect fit for him. I have no doubt that he’ll excel academically and athletically. He’ll contribute as a player right away.”

“These student-athletes embody Pace Academy’s motto, ‘To have the courage to strive for excellence,’” says Athletic Director Kris Palmerton. “They work hard in and outside of the classroom, and they represent our school well in everything that they do. I am incredibly proud of their accomplishments and wish them well in their future athletic and academic endeavors.”

Bussey, LaMastra and King join classmates Jared Datoc, Denzel Franklin, Raphael Ramirez, Kenny Selmon and Kameron Uter in their decisions to participate college athletics. Datoc, Franklin, Ramirez, Selmon and Uter have signed letters of intent at Division I schools. 

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