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April 02, 2013 8:02 am

NWC soccer sends three to Division I

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Simao, Ahrenholtz and Johnson all headed east

The Northwest College soccer programs will be sending at least a trio of student-athletes on to compete at Division I schools following a series of letter of intent signings at the college. Second-team All American Dean Johnson, All-American and school scoring leader Samhia Simao and 2011 Region IX freshman of the year Haley Ahrenholtz will all be playing Division I ball come next fall.

For Simao, who finished her sophomore campaign with a school-record 25 goals, as well as seven assists, her performance on the pitch for the Trappers transformed into an opportunity to receive a full ride for Arkansas State out of the Sun Belt Conference next season. The Red Wolves finished with an 11-8-1 record in the 2012 soccer season, finishing fifth during the regular season.

Simao was named an All-American this past year and was also an NJCAA national player of the week during the Trappers’ season. She will graduate this spring with school records for most goals in a season (25) and most goals in her career (38).

Both marks could set the standard at Northwest College for seasons to come.

While Simao heads her own direction, the Trappers’ other Division I signees for the season will continue to remain teammates of sorts. Both Ahrenholtz and Johnson have agreed to play for Gardner Webb University in Virginia.

Ahrenholtz was a first-team All-Region IX defender for the Trappers this past season, earning that accolade just one year after being named Region IX’s freshman of the year. Ahrenholtz joins a Running Bulldog lineup that posted a 3-14-1 record this past fall.

Meanwhile, Johnson will join the men’s roster at Gardner Webb. Johnson was a second-team All-American selection as a sophomore and was an all-region selection as a midfielder. Johnson played a significant role in helping the Trappers advance to their first-ever NJCAA national tournament appearance and the team’s first-ever district tournament championship.

Johnson finished his Trapper career with two-year totals of 15 goals scored and 24 assists. He played an integral part in the Trappers’ first regional title in 2011 and the team’s first district tournament title in 2012.

Gardner Webb’s men’s team posted a 4-14-2 record last fall. The Running Bulldogs play in the Big South Conference.

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