Wednesday, better known in the recruiting world as national signing day, marked not only the culmination of high school careers, but also the beginning of the future for numerous area high school athletes who will move on to compete in the collegiate ranks. And even more will follow suit in the days to come.
It started bright and early at Free State High, where three football seniors made their decisions official before the start of the school day. Demarko Bobo signed with Butler Community College, TJ Cobbs with Ottawa University and Tye Hughes with Baker University.
Later, in the afternoon, Lawrence High football had its own ceremony, with eight players signing their national letters of intent. Three pairs of Lions inked with the same program, extending their time as teammates. Jordan Brown and Kharon Brown will play at Baker. Erick Mayo and Brad Strauss will move on to Northwest Missouri State. Tyrone Jenkins and Will Thompson signed with Fort Scott Community College. Lawrence’s other signees were Asaph Jewsome (Highland Community College) and Drake Hofer (William Jewell College).
When Baker football coach Mike Grossner unveiled his signing day list, it included not only current city players, but also Eudora’s Nick Becker and four Free State graduates: Michael Lisher (Washburn University), Preston Randolph and Taylor Stuart (Coffeyville Community College) and Camren Torneden (University of Central Missouri).
Two more Eudora football seniors will sign their letters on Friday. Gabe Cleveland has committed with Emporia State University and Markis Hill with Coffeyville CC.
This afternoon in McLouth, football teammates Dakota Cop (Garden City Community College) and Marc Walbridge (Fort Scott CC) are scheduled to sign their letters.
Mill Valley football will have its ceremony today, too. Seven Jaguars are expected to sign: Lincoln Benson (Hutchinson Community College), Andrew Campbell (a preferred walk-on at Chadron State College, in Nebraska), Knute Holden (Baker), Coleman McCann (University of Northern Colorado), Staton Rebeck (William Jewell), and Kendall Short and Skyler Windmiller (both with Missouri Western University).
A pair of Perry-Lecompton football seniors also have college football in their futures: Brady Carver at Ottawa and Bobby Brandenberg at Fort Scott CC.
Veritas Christian football hasn’t yet announced a date, but Bryce Boland is an Ottawa commit.
Football players aren’t the only area athletes preparing for the next level. Bishop Seabury Academy senior Courtney Hoag has committed to Cowley County Community College volleyball. Perry-Lecompton volleyball senior Kelsey Kasson will go to Allen Community College, and her PLHS classmate Ellie Schuler will golf for Coffeyville CC. Eudora’s Britani Shrum has signed with Bethel College softball, and EHS senior Anne Beck plans to join the volleyball and track teams at University of Saint Mary.
Mill Valley seniors from five other sports will join the school’s football players today at a massive signing ceremony. Girls soccer signees are: Kayla Hammer (University of Central Missouri), McKenzie Koch (Emporia State) and Hayley Siebel (Baker). Signing softball scholarships are Kelli Spring (Wichita State) and Taylor Brunson (Johnson County Community College). Emily Brigham (University of South Dakota) and Madison Estell (Hillsdale College) are signing for track and field. Molly Kelley (McPherson College) is the lone volleyball signee. And MVHS baseball players LJ Hatch (JCCC), Jason Younger (Baker) and Zach Stinnett (Washburn) round out the list.