Three Lumberjack seniors ink commitment letters
Jaxson McCray and Alex Omenge will play football for Minnesota North College-Mesabi Range in Virginia, while Marco Mayorga will play basketball at Minnesota North College-Rainy River.
CLOQUET — Cloquet seniors Alex Omenge, Jaxson McCray and Marco Mayorga are set to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level after signing their commitment letters, Tuesday, Feb. 7, inside the conference room of Cloquet High School.
McCray and Omenge will be reunited as teammates on the gridiron next fall at Minnesota North College-Mesabi Range in Virginia. The two-year school is a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III member competing in the seven-team Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC).
Cloquet head coach Jeff Ojanen said he's thrilled for his two former players as they further their academic careers while continuing to play the sport they love.
“Obviously they love playing the game, so they have a chance to play it at the next level and still make progress towards getting a degree in something. It’s pretty cool that they have the chance to do that,” Ojanen said.
McCray, who earned All-Section Honorable Mention honors as a two-way starter for the Lumberjacks, said he’s eager to begin the next chapter of his career alongside a familiar face.
“I think it’s awesome having one of my teammates come with me and (that I’ll) know somebody when I get there and still get to play with him,” McCray said.
Omenge shared McCray’s excitement and said he’s focused on continuing to improve his game after earning All-District Honorable Mention honors as a middle linebacker and running back this past season.
“It feels great, I'm not gonna lie,” Omenge said. “I never thought I’d be here at this point, but I am. (I’m) just gonna tune up a couple things, always try to get better — get bigger, faster, stronger.”
From the gridiron to the hardwood, multi-sport standout Marco Mayorga is set to continue his basketball career in International Falls at Minnesota North College-Rainy River. The two-year school is also a member of the MCAC at the NJCAA Division III level.
The 6-foot, 1-inch forward said the decision boiled down to the coaching staff led by Bill Engel, who made a positive impression on Mayorga during a campus visit.
“He's a super nice guy,” Mayorga said of Engel. “When I took my visit up, they took care of us and were just really nice people.”
Mayorga’s current head coach at Cloquet, Steve Battaglia, said the multi-sport standout has a unique skill set that should translate well at the next level as an undersized big-man with range.
“He’s about 6-foot, plays in the post, but he’s savvy,” Battaglia said. “He’s got spin moves. He can step outside and try to make big guys guard him out on the perimeter a little bit, so he’s got a great skill set.”
Battaglia went on to praise Mayorga for his character and leadership.
“There’s just so many intangibles that he brings to the team. Everybody loves him,” Battaglia said. “Our young kids love him. He treats the young guys like gold, so he’s exactly the kind of guy that you want leading your program.”