Only a small percentage of high school student-athletes go on to play college athletics — a little under 6%, according to a 2019 study by the NCAA. Several Denton County student-athletes joined that illustrious company on Wednesday, signing letters of intent and realizing a longstanding dream of playing college athletics during National Signing Day’s early period.
High schools throughout the Metroplex recognized the accolades of those athletes with ceremonies all throughout the day, complete with friends, family and coaches on hand to acknowledge a goal that, for most, requires years of tireless work to achieve.
Schools like Flower Mound, Marcus and Coppell didn’t lack in representation on Signing Day, with all three sending double-digit student-athletes to the next level. That included 17 Jaguars, with many coming from the school’s storied baseball and swimming programs. On the diamond, Flower Mound’s signing cast included seniors Cam Brown (TCU), Patrick Dunn (Houston), Zack Kuykendall (Ouachita Baptist), Weston Peninger (Saint Joseph’s) and Tyler Talbert (Dallas Baptist), while seniors Aidan Clark (TCU), Brooke Dalbey (Kansas), Maggie Gholston (Auburn), Jenna Watson (SMU), Jasmine Weiland (Fresno State) and Kayla Wilson (Louisville) will all continue their respective swimming careers into college.
Flower Mound’s volleyball team was represented by seniors Riley Abernathy (Austin College) and Maci Godbey (University of Texas-Tyler), plus senior soccer standouts Sheridan Fenner (Black Hills State) and Delaney Wells (Northwestern Louisiana), basketball star seniors Jeff Mills (Air Force) and Makenzie Schott (Texas A&M-Commerce), and softball linchpin Kayla Wallace (Stephen F. Austin).
Softball and baseball were front and center at Marcus, accounting for 11 of the school’s 16 signees. Baseball players recognized included seniors Hunter Davis (Howard College), Reed Gallant (Rice), Blake Harmon (Mary Hardin-Baylor), Sam Hunt (Texas Tech), Collier Mershon (The Citadel), Matt Minyon (Northern Colorado) and Benny Roebuck (Kent State), while the Lady Marauders’ softball signees were seniors Lexi Benson (Stephen F. Austin), Mikaila Kenney (Marshall), Madison Johnson (West Texas A&M) and Ila Telford (Odessa College).
Marcus seniors Harvey Castro (SMU), Isabella Dooley (Midwestern State) and Delaney Hemperly (Baylor) all signed to continue their respective soccer careers, while senior Ryan Mouakket will join the Midwestern State tennis team and senior Maddie Meiner will parlay her versatile skill set on the track into a collegiate run at Oklahoma State.
Coppell, meanwhile, recognized 10 student-athletes across six different sports at its fall signing ceremony. That included three members apiece from the Cowgirls’ soccer and volleyball teams, with seniors Lauren Kellett (TCU), Lauren Odum (Texas Tech) and Haley Roberson (North Texas) bound for the collegiate soccer pitch, while seniors Kinsey Bailey (Presbyterian College), Peyton Minyard (Boston College) and Maci Watrous (Ohio) committed for volleyball.
Additional Coppell signees included senior Emily Hunt (St. Xavier golf), Hudson Polk (Oklahoma baseball), Johan Pretorius (Army swimming) and Jackson Walker (Duke track and field).
Elsewhere in District 6-6A, Hebron seniors Sierra Dickson (Texas State girls basketball), Logan McLaughlin (Abilene Christian boys basketball), Asher Mote (Northern Oklahoma baseball), Nnedi Okammor (Florida volleyball) and Garrison Rice (Navarro College baseball) all signed their respective letters of intent, while Lewisville senior Jeremiah Hudson will continue his cross country and track careers at Jackson State.
Lewisville-based iSchool had its own signing festivities as well, with basketball star senior Julian Larry committing to Indiana State.
The Colony, meanwhile, turned out its own star-studded ensemble for Wednesday, including two members of the softball team’s 2017 Class 5A state championship run as seniors Jayda Coleman (Oklahoma) and Jacee Hamlin (Texas Tech) finalized a pair of longstanding college commitments. The Cougars also recognized girls basketball stars Tamia Jones (SMU) and Jewel Spear (Wake Forest), as well as volleyball’s Ashley Procious (Stephen F. Austin), swimmer Morgan Gullette (Drury) and soccer player Reagan Keiser (Oklahoma Christian).
District 8-5A rival Lake Dallas celebrated a seven-person signing class on Wednesday, headlined by three members the school’s baseball team, which advanced to the regional semifinals last season, and hopes for continued success in 2020 following the commitments of seniors Grant Badstebner (Colorado School of Mines), Will Hirneise (Richland College) and Chris Marcotte (Central Baptist College). Other Falcons committing included seniors Ruthie Forson (Southeastern Oklahoma State volleyball), Kalista Miller (Oral Roberts girls soccer), Aubrey Meyers (Northern Oklahoma softball) and Dorian Norris (Texas A&M Commerce girls basketball).
Rounding out the day was a trio of signing ceremonies in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, with Creekview celebrating the commitments of Mekayla Holley (Arkansas-Little Rock girls basketball) and Elizabeth Marshall (University of Texas-Permian Basin), Newman Smith sending seniors Erin Chung (Louisiana Tech girls soccer) and Jarren Cook (Sam Houston State boys soccer) to the next level, and R.L. Turner senior Victoria Smith finalizing a commitment to play volleyball at Austin College.