George Washington University has won the recruiting battle for two of the county's top soccer players.
Wilde Lake midfielder Matt Nesbitt signed with GWU on Wednesday, and Hammond sweeper back Jackie Rieschick signed Feb. 28 with the Division I school in Washington.
Nesbitt, the Howard County Sun's Co-Player of the Year, was pursued by Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Rutgers and James Madison. The other Player of the Year, Nesbitt's teammate Hamisi Amani-Dove, signed with Rutgers in December.
Nesbitt said he picked George Washington because he considers it the best soccer team, and it played the best schedule among those recruiting him.
Nesbitt said he also wanted to attend an urban school and was impressed with Coach George Lidster.
"I think Matt can play midfield or forward for us and score goals," Lidster said. "All he has to do is adjust to the physical nature of NCAA ball. He's a confident player and that should help."
The GWU men's team had its best record last season, 14-5-1, and is considered to be a program on the rise.
Nesbitt scored 16 goals and had 16 assists for the Wildecats, who won the Class 1A state title last season. He also plays varsity basketball for the Wilde Lake.
Rieschick, the Howard County Sun's female Player of the Year, said she picked GWU for three reasons.
The first is Coach Shannon Higgens, aU.S. National Team player who is considered among the top female players in the world.
"She's sort of my idol," Rieschick said. "I've got a poster of her on my wall."
Her second reason was that the scholarship offer was the best she received -- nearly a full ride.
She also will be able to play sweeper, the position she prefers.
"Maryland wanted me to play outside fullback, and so did George Mason,"Rieschick said. The 17-year-old player also considered Rutgers.
It didn't hurt that Amanda Simmons of Meade High School, Rieschick's teammate on the Columbia Crusaders club team, also will attend George Washington.
Rieschick won nearly every soccer honor she could thisfall after playing the key defensive role on Hammond's Class 2A state championship team.
She won All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches of America -- one of only two All-Americas from Maryland.
She also was voted to All-State and All-South teams by the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer. Maryland had seven players chosen All-South.
Rieschick was selected as Player of the Year of the The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro team.
The Bears recorded eight shutouts and allowed just 14 goals in compiling a 15-1 record this past season. Centennial, the Class 4A/3A state champion, was the only teamto defeat Hammond.
During Rieschick's four-year career she recorded 28 shutouts during games when she played sweeper.
She also was a talented offensive player, scoring 21 goals and making 17 assists during her career.
She also has won numerous gold medals in both indoor and outdoor track while competing in middle distance events. Andshe won three golds at this winter's county indoor track championships.