Pictured: Cromwell senior athletes, from left: Alex McKiernan, Emeka Yearwood, Colby DiMenna, Connor Slifer, Cameryn Hickey, Victor Payne, Ace Kenney, Aubrey Kulpa and Victoria Wiatrak.

By Paul Augeri

CROMWELL — At Cromwell High’s library on Friday, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, coaches and teachers wore happy faces. Siblings, too.

The proudest smiles came from the Cromwell student-athletes who will continue their journeys in sports and studies in college. Nine Panthers, to be exact.

Baseball players Connor Slifer and Colby DiMenna will be teammates once again — at Western New England College.

It won’t be long before Alex McKiernan and Emeka Yearwood, who played for a football state championship in December, will be knee-deep in the preseason at their Massachusetts schools — McKiernan at Anna Maria College, and Yearwood at Springfield.

Three Panthers are pursuing soccer at the next level.

Cameryn Hickey, who led Cromwell to the school’s first state championship in girls soccer in 17 years, will play at Emmanuel College in Boston. Hickey was the MVP of the Panthers’ 2-1 title win over top-seeded Thomaston.

Aubrey Kulpa, a forward who charted her college path through the Oakwood Soccer Club, will play at Penn State. Kulpa is the second Cromwell student in as many years to commit to a Big Ten program after Mary Kate Sullivan, a defender at Indiana.

And Ace Kenney, who anchored Cromwell’s defense at center back, will play at Bridgewater State.

Catcher Victoria Wiatrak will play softball at Western Connecticut State. Wiatrak was a major factor in the Panthers’ run last spring to a second consecutive appearance in the Class S championship game.

Victor Payne, who accepted a basketball scholarship at Saint Francis (Pa.), was honored earlier this spring at the school. Payne was the Shoreline Conference Player of the Year for a second straight season and finished his career as the school’s second all-time leading scorer.

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