On Tuesday night, Jon Bell made the announcement with a post to his Twitter account.

“Blessed to be able to say I’ll be playing for my home state,” Bell, a senior at Skowhegan Area High School, said.

One of the top wide receivers in the state last season, Bell will continue his football career at the University of Maine. Bell was one of 17 recruits to commit to the University of Maine on Wednesday. Because the Black Bears had not yet received Bell’s national letter of intent, NCAA rules prohibited head coach Joe Harasymiak from commenting on Bell.

Bell wasn’t the only central Maine student-athlete to formerly announce their collegiate plans Wednesday.

Monmouth Academy senior Emily Grandahl said she’ll join the women’s soccer team at Merrimack College. Due to Wednesday’s storm, Grandahl’s official signing was postponed to Thursday afternoon at Monmouth. Grandahl said she looked at schools in Division I, II and III.

“Every time I went back to Merrimack, it felt like the right fit,” Grandahl said. “Merrimack just felt like home.”

Bell also said his school choice felt like the right fit.

“As a kid, I dreamed of playing Division I football. I’ve always gone to Maine games,” Bell said. “When Coach Denecke (Maine assistant coach Pat Denecke) called and said I have a spot, I was thrilled.”

Bell caught 13 touchdown passes for Skowhegan last fall, helping the Indians win the Pine Tree Conference Class B title and advance to the state championship game for the first time since 2008. In the state championship game loss to Marshwood, Bell had a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown. Bell said he was recruited as a preferred walk-on by the Black Bears, meaning he has a spot on the team and the opportunity to earn a scholarship in the future. At Skowhegan, Bell’s ability to create big plays out of short passes was a strength, and he hopes to redshirt a season and develop his skills. At 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Bell is undersized, so he relies on his quickness to make plays.

“I’m short, but I’m fast and have good hands,” Bell said.

In Merrimack, Grandahl is joining a program that could be on the verge of a big transition. Merrimack is considering moving all sports to Division I, where its ice hockey teams currently compete.

“Coach (Gabe Mejail) told all us recruits they’re looking to go to Division I in the next couple of years, so we’d be a part of that,” Grandahl said.

At Monmouth, Grandahl has played a number of positions, and last season helped lead the Mustangs to the regional championship game. Now, she’s focused on playing center back as she plays for the Seacoast United soccer club.

“(Merrimack) is losing quite a bit of seniors, so we’ll be a very young team,” Grandahl said.

Along with Bell and Grandahl, a handful of area field hockey players committed to Division I college programs. Haley Lowell of Messalonskee will play at Boston University. Mt. Blue’s Hannah Minns will join the Vermont field hockey team. Skowhegan teammates Haley Carter and Alexis Vashon will continue their careers at Hofstra and Mercy College, respectively.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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