A picture of the late Russ Stange sat on a table as his daughter, Coppell senior Reagan Stange, signed a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning to play collegiate softball for Odessa College.
Moments before Reagan signed on the dotted line, a video appeared on the Jumbotron inside Coppell Sports Arena. In the pre-recorded video, Reagan held back tears while describing how much her father had meant to her development as a softball player.
"He was always one of my biggest supporters through everything,” she said. “He was always there to push me to do my best and to never settle for me to be average at softball. I know that he would be looking down on me and saying how proud he is of me."
Stange was one of 13 student-athletes at Coppell – three in softball, four in football (Eric Hunter, Tim O’Hearn, Canon Peters and Zach Stricker), three in girls soccer (Jocelyn Alonzo, Addison Martin and Maya Ozymy), two in track and field/cross country (Chloe Hassman and Colin Proctor) and one in wrestling (Hannah Francis) – that signed their National Letter of Intent.
Michaella Baker will join her on the softball diamond at Odessa College. Adelyn Wilson has committed to playing softball for Bemidji State University in her home state of Minnesota.
“After living there when I was younger, I knew somehow that I had to go back,” Wilson said. “I would always visit the school and go work out there every summer, and I couldn't picture myself going anywhere else. It is the childhood town on the same lake that I grew up swimming in. I'm more excited to skate on it this year. I'm excited to be surrounded by pucks and sticks. I'm excited to be back in such a great hockey town.”
Like Wilson, Hassman will be moving to her hometown, but for cross country as well as track and field. Hassman, a native of Philadelphia, will be a long-distance runner for the University of Pennsylvania. She is Coppell’s school record holder in the mile run and was a member of the Cowgirls’ 2018 cross country state championship team.
"I chose Penn because it's located in the city that I grew up in,” she said. “I'm most excited about meeting a bunch of new athletes and competing for a school that takes a lot of pride in their sport that I participate in because of the Penn Relays that they host every year."
Fellow long distance runner Colin Proctor is headed out west and will run both track and cross country for Pepperdine University.
"I really knew that I wanted to go to California for school and for running, and once I found Pepperdine University, it checked all of the boxes on my list," he said.
The Coppell football team, which qualified for the playoffs this past season after missing out on the postseason in 2019, had four players sign on the dotted line Wednesday.
Kicker/punter Eric Hunter is headed to Southwestern University. Linebacker Tim O’Hearn is a Lafayette College pledge. Canon Peters, who moved from cornerback midway through this past season, is a Tulsa signee. Zach Stricker, the son of former Coppell girls soccer coach Chris Stricker, will fulfill his dream of playing long snapper in college for Sam Houston State.
"The coaching staff at Southwestern has been really communicative and helpful,” said Hunter, who is also an academic all-state honoree.
Coppell’s girls soccer team had three seniors sign –Alonzo (Memphis), Martin (Central Arkansas) and Ozymy (Trinity University). Alonzo and Martin have both served as team captains for Coppell in each of the last two seasons. Martin and Ozymy said that Central Arkansas and Trinity, respectively, “felt like home to me on my visit.”
“I chose the University of Memphis because I really liked the atmosphere,” Alonzo said. “What I'm most excited about when I get there is meeting a bunch of new girls and competing."
Francis, meanwhile, has worked hard to fulfill her goal to wrestle collegiately for Texas Wesleyan. She had never wrestled prior to her sophomore season but has come on strong. Francis finished her junior season with a record of 46-1 and took third place in her weight class at the Class 6A state tournament.
"I chose Texas Wesleyan because I love the team there,” she said. “I believe the coach there can help me develop into a senior-level wrestler."