By Torie Smith-Israel
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland men’s golf coach Chris Baloga has announced the signing of Brandon Berry, Evan Brown, Brett Inserra, and Nick Mejia to National Letters of Intent. The quartet will join the Greyhounds’ program in the fall as the Class of 2021.
“I am very excited with these four student athletes that have chosen to be Loyola Greyhounds,” Baloga said. “They are hard-working and dedicated players both on the course and in the classroom. They will be great ambassadors for Loyola and our golf program.”
Brandon Berry was two-time first team all-state, two-time all-region and four-time first-team all-district performer at Langley High School in McLean, Virginia. A two-time captain, Berry helped lead his team to the state championship in 2016. He’s also a two-time qualifier for the prestigious Junior PGA Championship. He finished first in the MAPGA Junior PGA qualifier and won the Junior PGA Series later that year.
“I know Coach Baloga through my swing coach,” Berry said. “I’ve always been a big fan of his and what he’s done with the program. The school’s proximity to home for me was a big benefactor, too. Once I visited campus, I really liked it, so it didn’t make the decision that hard.”
Evan Brown was a four-year all-league player at Kennett High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. In 2015, Brown shot the high school match record at Hartefeld National and finished the year as the fourth-ranked junior in the Golf Association of Philadelphia. The same year, Brown finished t-38th at the USGA Junior Amateur Championship, where he advanced to match play before losing in the Round of 64 to Eugene Hong. As a senior, Brown won the Ches-Mont League Championship and received an honorable mention for the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award.
“From the beginning, I felt Loyola was a place I wanted to be,” Brown said. “Even though it was a smaller school than most of the other schools I had been looking at, it has a great tradition and the family-like atmosphere was what I wanted in a college. The facilities and guys on the team also fit the mold of what I was looking for and I feel like Coach Baloga is the right guy to coach me for the next four years.”
Brett Inserra, from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, and ranked 319th overall in Golfweek, started his high school career at International Junior Golf Academy before finishing up at Bishops Gate Golf Academy. He posted five top-five international junior golf tour finishes and four top-20 placements in AJGA events, while he also finished second at the GolfWeek International Junior Invitational.
“I want to become a better golfer and I want to get a good education,” Inserra said. “I was playing in a tournament that Coach Baloga happened to be at, so he saw me play. When he contacted me after that, I decided to take a look at the school. Once I saw the campus, I really liked it. The facilities are great, campus is clean and the people seem really nice.”
Nick Mejia is a four-time first-team all-county performer at Marriotts Ridge High School in Marriottsville, Maryland. As a senior, Mejia won the district championship with a career-best 5-under 67 and led the Mustangs to a fourth-straight district and state title. In addition, a two-time first-place finisher at AJGA qualifiers, Mejia posted four top-20 finishes in AJGA tournaments.
“From a golf perspective, I’ve been interested in Loyola from the beginning,” Mejia said. “Being close to home has always been a priority and Loyola is a great school with first-class academic departments. When it came time to decide where to go, I was comfortable choosing Loyola because I felt they had my back.”
This quartet will help Loyola replace two graduating Greyhounds – seniors Connor Flach and Will Wears – following this season.