— By GREG WEBB
During the past five-plus months, a considerable amount of ink has been dedicated to the ‘signing on the dotted line’ for area student-athletes, as the hard work in their respective athletic pursuits has facilitated the opportunity to further their education, with the added bonus of continuing their career in a sport in which they have not only been adept, but have excelled.
At least forty now-graduated high school students from Parker County prep schools, as well as Weatherford College alum, who committed to colleges or universities during the first part of 2013, will hit the books again in the fall, while continuing to hone athletic skills.
Most next-level scholars have been recognized with media-reported signing ceremonies and celebration, but there are certainly more from the county who may yet have the opportunity to sign or have done so ‘under the radar.’
Seven of the public prep high schools in the county sent former students to the next level, representing nine sports.
Nation-wide, student-athletes have other tools and opportunities at their disposal to help promote themselves and take advantage of enhanced communication with prospective colleges.
Off-season leagues to play particular sports virtually year-round are more available than ever, providing another display of their skills to college programs.
And while the formidable number of national letter-of-intent signings from the area can be attributed to some of these available vehicles, the hard work to improve and the incentive to excel scholastically, as well as athletically, remain the root of successfully advancing to the next level.
One shining example of the growing proclivity by local schools helping their kids continue their education and athletic participation is the Peaster varsity volleyball program.
Of the seven seniors on the 2012-13 Lady Greyhounds varsity team, four were offered the opportunity and signed letters-of-commitment to attend and play volleyball at the next level.
“I’ve been coaching these kids for two years,” said Peaster head volleyball coach Autumn Threet, speaking recently at the signing celebration for Shalie Case, the fourth volleyball player to commit. “I think it’s just now hitting me emotionally that I’m losing these girls.
“They are very special kids and I know they are all going to be very successful at college.”
Threet, who took over the Peaster volleyball program two years ago after a stint at Springtown, expressed delight in being an influence to help the foursome to continue their educational and athletic careers.
“I think this is very impressive,” she said. “I have never seen four teammates go on to a college scholarship, especially at a [Class] 2A school. I’m just extremely proud.”
Threet, who actively helped the girls through the process of establishing next-level contacts, is resolved to help send more of her players to play college ball and hopes [this year’s commits] will pave the way to further promote the conception that kids from “smaller schools” can indeed play at the college level.
Student-Athlete Sport From Destination
Ciandra Seabourn Volleyball Springtown Vernon College
Shay Phillips Baseball Brock Wharton County College
Jordan Harvey Volleyball Weatherford Williams Baptist College
Morgan Ashmore Softball Brock Howard Payne University
Shambry Sanders Softball Brock Western Texas College
Thomas Loving Football Springtown Central Arkansas University
Willie Gibson Football Aledo Tyler College
Lexi Barton Soccer Aledo Washburn University
Pate Davis Football Aledo Air Force Academy
Bailey Scott Soccer Aledo University of Louisiana/Lafayette
Willie Maloney Soccer Aledo Austin College
Hayden Davis Football Weatherford Malone University
Tawnye Bramlett Softball Weatherford Hill College
Caleb Frysinger Football Aledo S’western Assemblies of God U.
Travis Gough Tennis Aledo McMurray University
Ashley Smith Volleyball Aledo Cameron University
Emily Ditmore Softball Weatherford College Univ. of Central Oklahoma
Kortney Koroll Softball Weatherford College Texas State University
Katy Vandewater Softball Weatherford College Midwestern State Univ.
Kylee Studioso Softball Weatherford College Univ. of Central Arkansas
Carolyn Clayton Softball Weatherford College Harding University
Luci Ponce Softball Weatherford College Texas Woman’s University
Samantha Alegria Softball Weatherford College Texas Woman’s University
Kelsie Coplen Volleyball Peaster Cameron University
Tyler Nelson Baseball Brock Mary Hardin-Baylor Univ.
Jonathan Mitchell Track & Field Weatherford Stephen F. Austin St. Univ.
Garrett Gaines Baseball Brock Cisco College
Lou Hawkins Basketball Weatherford Weatherford College
Seth Cooke Rodeo Weatherford Weatherford College
Anne Todd Rodeo Weatherford Weatherford College
Will Graham Soccer Weatherford Ranger College
Robert Brennand Soccer Weatherford Ranger College
Lauren Power Volleyball Millsap Vernon College
Shalie Case Volleyball Peaster Midland College
Braylee Flaska Volleyball Brock Hill College
Kaila Vlahopoulos Softball Brock Central Christian College
Callie Tuckness Volleyball Peaster Redlands College
Trevor Scroggins Basketball Poolville Hill College
Rebecca Dauenhauer Volleyball Springtown North Central Texas College
Note: The above may not be a comprehensive listing for Parker County athletes who signed letters of intent in 2013, as commitments are allowed until August and the Democrat may not have been informed of some signings. All Parker County schools are urged to contact Democrat Sports prior to any signing celebration to allow a reporter to be on site. Contact: email@example.com