From their first uncoordinated peewee practice to their final emotional plays on Senior Night, young athletes spend their lives focused on hard work and determination to achieve their goals. For a select few, the traits that coaches have instilled in them for years have paid off as they enter into the next level of play: collegiate sports.
National Signing Day once again proved the success of McKinney’s athletic programs as a handful of athletes from all three schools signed their letters of intent for colleges across the nation. On Wednesday afternoon, family, friends, teammates and staff gathered together to celebrate the latest in a long line of successes of their hard working Lions, Bulldogs and Broncos.
Libby Murphy signed with the University of North Texas and is still undecided on her major.
Chloe Fifer will play for Abilene Christian University as a Wildcat and plans to major in education.
Katie Foster heads to the University of Alabama-Birmingham in the fall and when she’s not busy being a Blazer on the field she’ll work on her nursing degree.
Taylor Tarsi will join the University of Texas-Tyler Patriots and plans on majoring in nursing.
Alexis Williams will head to the University of Central Oklahoma. She has played soccer since she was 4 years old and was involved with the Olympic development program. She has had two knee surgeries and has overcome many other injuries along the way.
Khaila Stampley has signed with the Louisiana State University-Alexandria Generals. She plans to major in marketing and appreciated that the campus wasn’t overwhelmingly big and that the coaches made her feel at home.
After being named their number one recruit, Stephanie Tutt has signed with the University of Texas-Tyler Patriots women’s golf team. When she’s not working on her short game she plans to study civil engineering.
Defensive back Kaelyn Young signed with Southern Arkansas University and is excited to begin his career as a Mule Rider. Specifically citing the campus and football program, Young said the players at SAU made him feel at home, much like his friends and coaches at Boyd. Young plans to major in physical therapy.
Robert Noren, a defensive back and wide receiver, will join the Southwestern University Pirates in the Fall. Noran plans to major in business and chose Southwestern because “the whole football team felt like a family.” Although he’s excited to join the Pirate family, he’ll miss being around his parents and teammate/brother Parker.
Offensive lineman Jesus Barrio will move to Maryland to become a Towson University Tiger. Barrio ited the familial feel of Towson’s staff and found the East coast campus “beautiful.” He plans to major in Pre-Med so he can eventually become an anesthesiologist.
Boyd’s starting quarterback, Curtis Ladd, had a hard decision ahead of him, but ultimately decided to join the Air Force Academy. Despite the tough choice, Ladd said his visit to the Academy “just felt right.” Ladd will join former teammate Bryan Driskell and plans to major in “something with economics.”
North wide receiver Tyler Files will head to Iowa this fall to play with the Grand View University Vikings. Flies is excited to join the Viking’s successful program and work with the “great coaching staff.”
Flies will be joined by running back Trey Smith who also signed with Grand View University.
Lineman Austin Horton has signed with the Central Arkansas University Bears. He attributes his success on and off the field this year to offensive line coach. “He came in this year as a new coach and did such a great job. I wouldn’t be signing today without him.”
Belicia Mendiola signed with Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
Hadlie Tucker signed with the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.
McKINNEY HIGH SCHOOL
For MHS soccer player Jacob Wright, signing with Centenary College of Louisiana was a dream long in the making. “Back in 8th grade I talked with the soccer coach there and he told me to come check out the campus and I fell in love,” Wright said. “I looked at Austin College for like a week, but when I saw Centenary again I knew that’s where I had to go.” Wright plans on studying Biology during his time as a Cyclone.
Vianei Sanchez found her “perfect fit” in Ft. Hayes University where she’ll become a Tiger next Fall. Although she knows she’ll get homesick, she’s excited for the chance to break away from her comfort zone and experience the “medium-sized” Kansas school.
Strong safety Jontrell Rocquemore remembers watching the seniors before him on Signing Day and even now that he’s signed with Utah State he still can’t believe he’s finally made it too. With Utah’s staggering altitude, Rocquemore is working out as much as he can to make his move to college sports “a walk in the park.”
Despite numerous injuries, running back Tommy Candela achieved his goal and signed with Southeastern Oklahoma State University. “I’ve made plans with the team to come down for weekends and work out with the team, so I know what to expect when I get there,” Candela said. “ This way I can become closer with the guys that will become my new family at Southeastern Oklahoma.”
Offensive guard David Tachie still has to let it sink in that he’s signed with the University of Central Arkansas. “I just wanted to go where I felt most wanted, where I had the best chance at a starting position,” Tachie said. “I’ve had this goal since Freshman year and it’s just great to see that hard work really does pay off.”
Wide receiver TV Williams signed with the University of Kentucky. But Williams enrolled early at the Southeastern Conference school in Lexington, Ky., and therefore did not have a signing ceremony at the school.
Elisabeth Richins signed with Pratt Community College in Kansas.
McKINNEY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY – CLICK HERE FOR MCA SIGNING DAY COVERAGE
McKinney Boyd Photos By TSB’s Angie Bado
McKinney North Photos By TSB’s Sawyer Erickson
McKinney High Photos By TSB’s Dylan Derryberry and Sawyer Erickson