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Examiner
  • Ten Jags sign letters of intent

  • On Wednesday afternoon, 10 Blue Springs South seniors stood up in front of their friends, families and teachers and inked national letters of intent on National Signing Day.

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  • On Wednesday afternoon, 10 Blue Springs South seniors stood up in front of their friends, families and teachers and inked national letters of intent on National Signing Day.
    This scene plays out every year in November and February, but that doesn’t lessen its significance, said Blue Springs South activities director Tim Michael.
    “It’s always exciting,” Michael said. “We’ve got to be careful because it can be old hat. But for these 10 kids, it’s a huge commitment.”
    Headlining South’s class were three Division I signees as Julia Towler signed to play volleyball at the University of Missouri, Austin Eads agreed to head to Norfolk, Va., to wrestle and J.P. Derksen inked his name to play golf at Kansas State.
    Joining that trio were Morgan Connors (swimming, Lindenwood University), Morgan Greenwood (softball, Avila University), Lauren Israel (gymnastics, Southeast Missouri State University), Hannah Rector (gymnastics, Lindenwood), Bre Schlenger (diving, California Baptist University), Cheyenne Watkins (softball, King College in Bristol, Tenn.) and Blake Windsor (golf, St. Joseph’s College in Collegeville, Ind.).
    The three Division I prospects said their decisions were obvious, although for different reasons.
    Derksen visited Manhattan, Kan., in late June and was blown away by the campus. He’d been impressed by other schools as well, like the University of Kansas, but after seeing K-State, he knew he wanted to be a Wildcat.
    “When I got to campus it just hit me,” he said. “It’s just like, wow, I want to spend the next four years here.”
    Towler received early interest from KU and K-State, but once Mizzou came calling, her choice was easy.
    “Growing up I was always a Mizzou fan,” she said. “My dad (James Towler) went to Mizzou and so that’s always been a dream of mine to play there. When they finally offered me, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
    Eads experienced a range of emotions just a day after undergoing knee surgery for a meniscus injury that will keep him off the wrestling mat for around 10 weeks. He said he wasn’t sure how to feel on Wednesday, but added that he was trying to just enjoy the ceremony without worrying about the rehab he has ahead of him.
    Eads garnered plenty of attention from wrestling powerhouses like Mizzou and Northwestern University, but decided to make the trek to Virginia because he said he thought that program gave him the best shot at reaching his personal goals.
    “It’s definitely a program on the rise,” he said. “Coach Steve Martin is a really great coach and he’ll put me on track to becoming an All-American and a national champion.”
    Michael described Wednesday as one of his favorite days of the year to be an activities director. Not only because it’s a chance to recognize some of South’s best athletes, but also because so many students get to take the first step toward reaching a college degree.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I didn’t say it today, but going through grades and things I saw that we have some really good student-athletes that we’re sending to college that are going to be successful,” Michael said. “It’s exciting.”
     

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