WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — High school athletes from around the area signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to play their sports at the collegiate level.
Players, coaches, family and friends all joined in on the celebrations. For many, it’s a moment they’ve dreamt about from the beginning.
“Being a little girl, [the] first time I stepped on the field, this is exactly what I wanted. So it feels good to pursue that dream,” said Derby’s Addy Canfield, who signed to play softball at McLennan Community College.
She is one of four Panthers who put paw to paper. Avery Kelley, Kyler Demel and Rylan Syring also made their commitment official.
“We’ve [Canfield and Demel] grown up with each other playing this sport together, and just being at a high level is just going to be crazy, and I’m excited for it,” said Demel, who will soon join Butler Community College softball.
For Kelley, the decision was well-thought-out. She will be playing volleyball at Newman University.
“I’m a three-sport athlete, so finding the sport that fit me the best, finding the school that fit my academics the best, it’s been a long process, but being able to finally sign and be done with it, it’s super exciting,” she explained.
And Syring is now the first powerlifter to earn an athletic scholarship from Derby. She heads to Ottawa University in the fall.
“It’s truly a blessing to be able to pave the way for young women and young men and just to be a role model for other people,” said Syring.
Over at Wichita Heights, hoops star TJ Williams is keeping his heart and home in Wichita, joining Paul Mills and the Shockers.
“I just couldn’t wait to get here, you know, and real supportive group as you can see, and you know it’s just no place like home,” said Williams.
Andover Central pole vaulter Bryce Barkdull kept the crowd guessing. He first revealed a t-shirt repping Texas Tech before peeling it off to reveal another shirt with the Jayhawks logo.
The Jaguar already has family ties to the University of Kansas.
“The coach, he coached my dad, and now he coaches my brother and me, and that’s awesome that it’s going to be the whole Barkdull family,” he said.
At Maize South, soccer standout Vitor Geromel will be taking his talent to Clemson.
“The coaches are great, the facilities are great, it’s a great team, great school, great campus. I think everything just fits with me. Everything about it just fits really well, so I’m really glad for the opportunity,” said the Maverick, who is fresh off a state championship title on Saturday.
“It felt like the perfect ending. Even though it’s not the end of my senior year, it just felt like the perfect ending of my high school career,” he said, “It’s just an amazing feeling.”
Trinity Academy cross country star Clay Shively will be running with the Lumberjacks at Northern Arizona University.
“There’s so many people in this room that I can say without a doubt that I would not be anywhere near where I am without them, so just for all of these people to be here, I feel really honored by it and really thankful,” said Shively.
Other local signees include:
- Maddy Ralf: Cross Country, Hesston College
- Owen Eck: Wrestling, University of Oklahoma
- Abigail Araiza: Softball, Arkansas State University -Mountain Home
- Andrell Burton: Basketball, Drake University
- Breana Garrett-Tillemans: Track and Field, Missouri State University
- Gabrielle Stauffer: Softball, Hutchinson Community College
- Gracie Beard: Volleyball, Saint Mary College
- Kiley Maier: Golf, Fort Hays State University
- Mya Free: Volleyball, Bethel College
- Taybor Rardin: Softball, Independence College
- Bella Smith: Soccer, University of Tennessee
- Brody Scafe: Golf, Washburn University
- Carly Hummell: Soccer, Northwest Missouri State
- Carson Wright: Golf, Creighton University
- Karlee Ford: Softball, Iowa State University
- Kendyll Garner: Volleyball, Avila University
- Langley Barger: Volleyball, Bethel College
- Madeline Bracy: Soccer, Emporia State University
Kapaun Mt. Carmel
- Asher Whitaker: Golf, University of Oklahoma
- Frank Alberti: Swim, University of Illinois-Chicago
- Jenna Goers: Volleyball, Benedictine College
- Lizzie Romer: Basketball, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
- Aubrey Olander: Volleyball, Barton Community College
- Camdyn Stucky: Volleyball, University of Tennesee
- Gracie Morrow: Volleyball, Wichita State University
- Kyndal Ewertz: Soccer, University of Arkansas
- Grace Hett: Volleyball, Wichita State University
- Baylee Simmelink: Soccer, Northwest Missouri State
- Danica Brunk: Swim, Lindenwood University
- Karter Alvord: Softball, Barton Community College
- Riggs Kuhn: Soccer, Johnson County Community College
- Ty Rains: Baseball, McPherson Central College
Sunrise Christian Academy
- David Castillo: Basketball, Kansas State University
- Kalie Villagomez: Volleyball, Kansas Wesleyan University
- Brock Wallace: Swim, Cleveland State University
- Lexi Wimberly: Cross Country, Newman University
- Nina Mitchell: Volleyball, George Mason University
The next signing day will be for football only on Dec. 21, 2023.