Five DME Student-Athletes Are Committed To Their Dream Schools

Petras Padegimas, Tessa Engelman, Alex Doyle, Hannah Miller and Dominika Paurová

It’s the 5 a.m. wake-ups, the lack of spring and summer break, the time spent recovering, the dedication, and hard work. That’s what separates good athletes from great athletes.

Five DME Academy basketball players put pen to paper and signed with their dream schools. This was the ultimate achievement and symbolized the payoff of the commitment and passion they have given to the sport.

Three incredible athletes from our girl’s basketball teams signed with their dream schools. Hannah Miller, a Girls High School Prep team member, signed with Pitt State. Dominika Paurová and Tessa Engelman, members of the Girls High School National team, signed with Minnesota and South Carolina State, respectively.

Two members of our boy’s basketball teams also joined their dream schools. Petras Padegimas, a member of the Boys High School National team, signed with the University of Central Florida, and Alex Doyle, a member of the Post-Grad National/Blue basketball team, signed with Stetson University. 

When asked about his experience at DME, Doyle said, “DME helped provide me with the opportunity to receive multiple scholarships. I’m especially thankful to my coaches, and I am extremely excited to make an impact in college at Stetson.”

At DME Academy, we are passionate about seeing our athletes succeed in the classroom and on the court. They make sacrifices daily to be the greatest at their sport and we are grateful we get to be a small part of their journey as they take their talent to the next level.

Congratulations to these five athletes on this incredible honor. Thank you for all you have given to DME Academy. We are excited to cheer you on as you take the next step in your career.

Do you want to take your talent to the next level? Learn more about our sports programs and how you can join DME Academy here.

DME Academy 14U Sanders Softball Team Takes Home the Trophy at the ISA Championship

DME Academy 14U softball team

They say the things that are worth it, never come easy. The same could be said for DME Academy’s 14U Sanders softball team’s road to the ISA Championship in Clermont, FL. 

The journey started with a shut-out win over the TNT 14U. Aiyanna Gerhardt threw a complete game, ending in a 13-0 win for DME. Five players, Nina Padgett, Ashley Hughes, Alondra Vincenty, Avery Veirs, and Faith Rudy, stepped up to the plate, driving in eight runs in the third inning.

DME entered the Championship game as the number two seed with an overall record of 5-1. The only thing standing between them and the trophy was the Brevard Heat 14U, and they weren’t going down without a fight.

DME pulled ahead in the second inning as their bats heated up, but it was short-lived as the Heat tied it up in the fourth. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the game tied 3-3, Katlyn Schoeps shut down a scoring opportunity by the Heat and kept the score even. DME fought their way back in the fifth inning, regaining the lead when Padgett stopped a possible game-tying run with an incredible fly-out catch.

This spark ignited a fire when Keylee Gerhardt recorded an RBI, scoring Schoeps who had reached base on an error by the Heat. This was followed by power-hitting thanks to Reese Cianciarulo, Hughes, and Vincenty.

An amazing win made even more incredible by the teamwork each athlete displayed. Cianciarulo led the team from the batter’s box and the mound with 9 hits and a 3-1 record from the rubber.

Cianciarulo kept the Heat’s bats at bay while the rest of the team mounted a solid defense behind her.  She allowed only three runs on seven hits, striking out five with zero walks.  Cianciarulo was backed by a solid defense, led by Gerhardt who showed off impressive fielding skills.

With a final score of 6-3, DME 14U Sanders Softball team earned the trophy and the title of champion. They played hard until the very last pitch and displayed impressive skill and teamwork.

Congratulations to the DME Academy 14U Sanders Softball team on winning the ISA Championship!

Interested in DME Academy’s softball or baseball program? Check it out here!

Wesley Person Joins Our Team as the High School Regional Team Head Coach

DME Academy is lucky to have a roster of talented coaches leading its sports teams. From those who have professional sports ties to those who have been honored at the national level for their coaching abilities and leadership. 

Join us in welcoming Wesley Person to our DME Academy coaching staff. He will be joining us as the Head Coach of the DME High School Regional Team.

Wesley’s incredible resume boasts 11 years as a player in the NBA spending his first year in the league with the Phoenix Suns, going 23rd overall in the 1994 NBA Draft. His accolades include leading the league in minutes played, three-pointers taken, and percentage made during the 1997-98 season and spending seven years of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wesley also spent one year of his career playing under Dan Panaggio, DME co-founder, in 2003 when he was playing for the Portland Trailblazers. Dan Panaggio was the assistant coach at the time. 

When asked about being coached by Dan, Wesley said, “Dan was a player-coach. He was the type of coach you could talk to and confide in. He is approachable and was always there for everyone. Not only was Dan one of the most humble coaches I had the pleasure of playing for, but he always had a reason for his decisions on and off the court.”

When his playing career came to an end, Wesley transitioned into a coaching role, spending the last 22 years mentoring the next generation of athletes. Most recently, Wesley was the head coach of the Greenville High School Tigers in Greenville, Alabama where he was named 20201 Coach of the Year.

Wesley’s passion for teaching basketball IQ and mentoring athletes has made him a successful and beloved coach. Being part of the lives of the kids who are members of his team is his way of giving back to a sport that gave so much to him.

“I have a different coaching style for each athlete. As a coach, you have to identify the best practices of each player – how to communicate with them and what they need to improve on so you can help them take their skills to the next level,” says Wesley, “If athletes put in the work, it gives them a higher chance of advancing their career. I’m always looking ahead at how I can prepare them for whatever is next.”

Wesley’s coaching philosophy is simple: teach an athlete once and your job is done. When coaches give athletes the tools to be successful, it enables them to figure out how to adapt their playing style to what’s needed to succeed. It also guarantees they won’t make the same mistake twice.

Even with a history of winning on high-school, collegiate, and national stages, Wesley considers the ultimate win seeing his players be successful in life and being given the opportunity to choose where they want to take their careers next.

“It’s great when the team wins games, but we’re trying to build these kids’ futures. I win when they’re successful.” 

DME is excited about the experience and talent Wesley will bring to the DME Academy coaching staff and look forward to the High School Regional Team taking the court soon.

About DME Academy: DME Academy is an elite, multi-sport training and educational institution designed for student-athletes who are looking to reach their ultimate potential, harness their strengths, and achieve their goals. Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, the academy offers a wide variety of programming, servicing 6th-12th grade students. DME is a co-ed boarding school that offers post-graduate programs, year-round camps, tournaments, and team events, including collegiate and professional training.

To learn more about DME and our sports programs, connect with one of our Student-Athlete Advisors by booking a one-on-one call here!

The Spirit of the Congo

How Mike Panaggio and DME Academy are helping young athletes with the guidance of NBA player, Bismack Biyimbo


On July 31st,  Mike Panaggio, co-owner of DME Academy in Daytona, Florida, set off to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa for a 2 week stay. The DME co-founder was accompanied by Bismack Biyombo, who plays in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns and Xabi Zusperreguy from France.  The purpose of the trip was to change the lives of young athletes by helping Bismack organize and execute a basketball camp for the youth of the Congo, in which two lucky athletes would be selected to attend DME Academy for the 2022-23 season on a full scholarship. 

On what motivated Panaggio to award two full scholarships to DME Academy he explains, “Whoever gives, needs to feel as good as the person receiving the gift of a scholarship. We are looking for two fortunate athletes who want to come to America, have a high degree of respect for education, will put their all into trying something new, and have a certain discipline of family culture.” 

The two students who will be attending DME Academy on a full scholarship will be learning benchmarks in English, physicalities on the court, how to adapt to American style of basketball, and how to make lifelong friends with other student-athletes in the US. 

For the last two years, The Biyombo Family Foundation has not been able to host any camps due to the sweeping Covid-19 pandemic. Panaggio acted as an assistant counselor to Bismack to make sure that the first year back was an unforgettable experience for the young hopeful athletes. 


On the first day of camp on August 2nd, almost 120 kids ventured across the Congo, some traveling as far as 4 hours, to show off their skills to their nation’s hero, Bismack Biyombo. The next 3 days were filled with drills, shooting, working on physical benchmarks and playing pick up games against each other.  The last day of camp, August 6th, held the most excitement. The team held an all stars skills competition consisting of a slam dunk contest and 3 point shooting competition to test their accuracy. Both girls and boys competed in the cutthroat competition.

“The final day of the basketball camp in Lubumbashi, with over 3,000 locals watching, was incredibly powerful and touching,” says Mike Panaggio. “It is amazing how everyone shares the same love I have for basketball. We always felt safe and very welcome by the people of Lubumbashi, even though we were the only foreigners” 

After exploring the cities of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Goma, completing a successful three day basketball camp, and making countless memories, Bismack brought Mike and his crew to his mother’s house for a true, homestyle Congolese dinner to wrap the trip up. 

Mike was the only one to make the trip from DME Academy this year, but he is hopeful that his son, Matt Panaggio, will accompany him next year to appreciate the Congo and find the next two future DME Academy attendees. 

Each year moving forward, DME will sponsor 2 new athletes from the Congo in partnership with the Bismack Biyombo Foundation to give them a chance at a better life. 

During the trip, Panaggio, Biyombo and Zusperreguy were accompanied by a video crew. They will be releasing a documentary in the coming months of their experience in the Congo and will name it “The Spirit of Congo”. Watch out for it on the DME Academy social channels! 

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Making Names For Themselves and DME Volleyball

Four Students from DME Volleyball have been nominated for the 2022 AVCA Phenom List


At DME Academy,  it is not out of the ordinary to host some of the best athletes in their lanes. That is why, when the 2022 AVCA Phenom Nominations came out it was no surprise that four DME athlete’s names were included. Emma Van Duesen, Alyssa Kornegay, Ivy Westfall and Gabby Conway were all nominated for the honor.  

Making the Phenom List is no walk in the park. There are specific criteria that an athlete must meet to be considered. They must be:

To be nominated for the list is already an achievement in itself. 

“This group of athletes has been playing together for many years at DME,” said Dawn Moses, director of volleyball at DME Academy. “They work extremely hard at their individual positions and are very deserving of this honor.” 

The girls are local to the area and play on their respective high school teams. Kornegay and Westfall play for New Smyrna Beach, Van Duesen represents Deland, and Conway plays for Spruce Creek High School in Daytona Beach, FL. All four girls are expected to graduate in 2024 and have college volleyball in their futures, thanks to DME Academy’s competitive club volleyball program. 

“DME is like a home away from home for me, an extended family. A family that has made a positive impact on who I am today, on and off the court. I’ve learned how to be a student-athlete and I am able to do well in school and club volleyball.” says Alyssa Kornegay. ” I make sure to have excellent time management by doing homework before practice, studying on the way home and getting as much sleep as I can so I am ready to do it all again the next day. It’s part of doing more everyday, the DME way!”

This year will be the 11th year that the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) will host the invite-only Phenom College Preparatory Program. Since the program started, 80% of the athletes who have participated have gone on to play in college. This high-level showcase draws in more than 200 college coaches each year, so it is crucial that the girls bring their A-game. 

The 2022 AVCA Phenom College Prep Program is taking place on December 15th-17th in Omaha, Nebraska. We wish them the best of luck!

Check out how DME Academy can help you Ignite The Dream by bringing your volleyball career to the next level by clicking here!

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The DME Academy 2012 girls team showed no signs of slowing down after yet another tournament win, this time in Orlando, Florida at the OC Lake Nona Season Opener.

“What a showing! The girls did a phenomenal job this weekend. They never took their foot off the gas and showed everyone what it means to play for DME. Winning the trophy was great, but the passing and team play impressed me.”- Coach, Jared Antista

The 2012 girls soccer team kicked off their competitive schedule last May and after three tournaments and now two championship trophies, the groundwork is being laid for a successful future. This U11 team dominated the competition at Lake Nona this past weekend (August 21st & 22nd, 2022). The tournament showcased top teams from Florida including two ECNL-R squads, Swan City from Lakeland & Orlando City. A tough FC America team also competed in pool play but none challenged DME this go around.

The girls finished with a perfect record of 4-0, scoring 27 goals and conceding just 1. In the last 8 games, they are undefeated, 7-1-0, scoring 52 goals and conceding only 3. It’s a complete team effort. Offense, defense, Goalie play, and coaching.

“These girls have become true winners this summer. Not by scoring more goals but through their minds. The “play like a champion” mentality may have seemed to appear out of nowhere, but it has been brewing through their dedication, training, and effort.” Coach, Scott Morgenroth, former IMG Academy coach. 

You’re on notice soccer world, DME Academy soccer is on the rise. To stay up to date and to learn more about DME Academy’s rising soccer program, take a look here!

Keegan & Kris Murray Return to DME to Have Their Jerseys Retired

Kris and Keegan Murray returned to DME Academy this past week. It was a celebration as the brothers were honored with jersey retirement ceremonies. Their numbers — Kris’ number 31 and Keegan’s number 25 — will be immortalized on the walls of DME’s basketball court, showing young student-athletes what can be accomplished with hard work and determination. The twins, born on August 19th, 2000, attended DME at the age of 19, where their careers really started to take off. 

“Before coming to DME, we weren’t being taken very seriously because we were always looked at and thought to be on the smaller side,” said Keegan at the Q&A session during the ceremony. “Once we got to DME, I really started to understand how much work I needed to put in to get my game to the next level. DME is great because you will always have the option to get better, whether it be getting shots up whenever you want or getting in the gym at any hour of the day to lift weights at their state-of-the-art facility”. 

Since starting their basketball journey at DME, Kris and Keegan have been on a tear in their individual basketball careers. Keegan was just recently selected 4th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2022 NBA Draft after playing two years with the Iowa Hawkeyes where he scored 23.5 points per game on average and won the Karl Malone Award as the nation’s top power forward. Kris has his eyes set on the 2023 NBA draft as he returns to the courts as a Hawkeye for this upcoming season where he currently scores 9.7 points per game on average. 

The event kicked off with a tour of the facilities, showing off the newly constructed dorms. Admissions coordinator Haleigh Panaggio led a walk through the campus to show off the new beach volleyball courts and the site of the full-sized soccer field that will be completed in the fall.

After the campus tour, the twins spent some time with the young athletes attending DME’s Summer Prep Camp. They answered questions on what it’s like to play at a Division-I school, what their time was like at DME and the sacrifices the twins had to make to get as far as they have thus far. Everyone was in high spirits after lining up for pictures and received autographs from the twins on items including sneakers and playing cards. 

The ceremony was attended by past coaches, mentors and even a few of the twins former teammates. Fox 35 Orlando, a local news station was also onsite making sure to document the historical moment for DME. 

The event was powerful and emotional, fitting for two players who are forces to be reckoned with on the court, as well as great students and friends off of it. After opening words from Dan Panaggio, Co-Owner of DME, the Murray family answered questions from Halifax Health’s, Kaylee Durrance who was emceeing the event. 

“This is a very special day in DME Academy history,” said Dan Panaggio. “Thank you to the Murrays for taking time out of your busy lives to spend it with us. To Keegan and Chris, I have seen a lot over the years – working with some of the biggest names in basketball history. The way you both carry yourselves, on and off the court is a testament to your parents and the type of people that we want to represent DME. You are true examples of young, aspiring athletes that did things the right way. You both displayed hard work, dedication, humility and sincerity in the pursuit of chasing your dreams. We are here today to honor you as role models all athletes at DME should try to emulate”. 


The banners were dramatically revealed to be forever imprinted on the walls of DME, where all future student-athletes can look up and be inspired to make their biggest dreams become a reality. 

To learn more about how DME can help you ignite your dreams, check out our programs here!

Lester Stewart Appointed as Director & Head Coach of DME Academy National Post-Grad Team

DME Academy announced the hiring of Lester Stewart as the director and head coach of the national post-grad basketball team. Lester comes to DME Academy from Casper College, where his role as assistant basketball coach was focused on implementing training programs, developing scouting reports and recruiting top-level talent. 

During his time at the junior college and NCAA Division-I levels, Lester proved his coaching and recruiting abilities, as well as his aptitude to push talent to the next level. His career highlights include: 

“We couldn’t be more excited to add Lester to our team,” said Laura Stegall, athletic director at DME Academy. “His experience at the high school, junior college, and NCAA levels will be instrumental to the progress of our program. He has a keen eye for discovering hidden talent and a unique ability to push players to the next level.”

“My career path has led me to DME Academy where the values and vision are shared, and it’s a blessing,” said Lester. “I will serve each player that has walked and will walk through the doors of DME Academy, and I will help them build on their strengths, accomplish their dreams and reach their ultimate potential. I’m excited to be a part of the DME family, let’s get to work!”

Are you ready to push your game to the next level? Come play for coach Stewart at DME Academy. Click here to learn more about DME Academy’s elite basketball program.

Todd Eason at the Forefront of Creating a Competitive Soccer Program at DME Academy

Todd Eason, Director of Soccer at DME, has been at the forefront of assembling the perfect team to compete at the middle-school level for girls soccer in the upcoming 2022-2023 season. DME is extremely excited to have these amazing athletes representing the Academy on and off the field. This group will up their competition and bring their talent to the national stage, and will be a force to be reckoned with across the country. 

The new DME Academy girls’ team consists of 11 of the top 7th graders in the Florida area. Remember these names because you’ll be hearing about them a lot in the upcoming years. 

 “DME Academy has been super excited to see our middle school girls’ soccer program evolve over the last year to a full team for the 2022-23 season,” said athletic director Laura Stegall. “Todd has put in countless hours developing this roster and it is exciting to see the program come to fruition. I look forward to watching these ladies compete.”

Some of the girls- Cora Wingard and Payton Robinson to name a few – will be representing DME as full-time student-athletes in the fall of 2022, where they will be able to take classes online and focus on their soccer skills. Riley Doran’s family has also done a lot to help with the recruitment efforts for this upcoming season. 

“I’m pleased to announce and be associated with the first middle school team to represent DME Academy,” said Eason. “Our coaching staff has worked hard on identifying some of the most talented young players in our community. With the combination of our returning players and the seven new additions, I look forward to seeing this group compete at an extremely high level. Our focus on academics, character development and training regiment will bring much deserved attention and opportunities for our young student-athletes.”

If you’re interested in joining our soccer family, improve your game and see why DME is an academy on the rise, click here to learn more about all of our soccer programs.

Murray Brothers to be Honored by DME Academy

DME Academy is set to retire the Murray brother’s numbers July 28th as the first inductees into DME Academy’s Hall of Fame.

It seems like everyone is talking about the Murray brothers as of late. It’s no wonder, since Keegan was selected fourth overall in the 2022 NBA Draft to the Sacramento Kings after playing two seasons for the University of Iowa. Twin brothers Kris and Keegan spent their PG year at DME, and they have been on an upward trajectory ever since. The duo dominated the 2019-20 season at DME, and that set the stage for the Murray’s to elevate their game in the Big Ten with Iowa. Now in 2022, Keegan will embark on an NBA career while Kris will enter his third season for the Hawkeyes. 

At the end of this month, Kris and Keegan will make a celebrity appearance in Daytona, Florida, where DME Academy, will retire the two brother’s jerseys. It will be an all-day event held on Thursday, July 28th, celebrating the twin’s accomplishments both at DME and beyond. 

The ceremony will hosted in partnership with Halifax Health and will feature the entire Murray family and a special Q&A so they can share plenty of advice for upcoming basketball student-athletes. “Honoring these two young men was an easy decision for our leadership team. Character, drive and dedication are all characteristics we demand of current and future DME student-athletes, and the Murray brothers are a perfect example of that.. Honoring them both as the first members of the DME Hall of Fame made perfect sense.” Says Dan Panaggio, owner of DME Academy. 

Whether the goal is playing professionally, earning a college scholarship or testing the waters internationally, DME is on a mission to support the lives of all of our student-athletes. If you are interested in seeing how DME Academy can help further your education and sports career, get in touch here!

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