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Examiner
  • Chrisman class hopes to lay foundation

  • On Thursday, students, parents, teachers, coaches, family and friends crowded into the newly renovated commons area at William Chrisman High School for a day that could be remembered as the foundation for future signing classes.

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  • On Thursday, students, parents, teachers, coaches, family and friends crowded into the newly renovated commons area at William Chrisman High School for a day that could be remembered as the foundation for future signing classes.
    "In 18 years at William Chrisman we've never had a day like today," Chrisman activities director Dan Ogle said as nine students signed letters to continue with their respective sports and activities at the next level. "We've had signing days, but never one like this.
    "We weren't even sure how to line up all the tables and make room for everyone, but that is a nice problem to have."
    The nine signees ranged from football and basketball to equestrian and dance. The nine students who signed letters were Danielle Dickerson, equestrian, South Dakota State; Josh Gilliland, football, Central Methodist; Dalton Troutman, football, Emporia State; Kylie Gilpatrick, soccer, Buena Vista College (Iowa); Morgan Hayes, dance, Missouri Western; Nicole Riddle, dance, Graceland; Sykeya Horn, basketball, Graceland; Nieka Wheeler, basketball, Johnson County Community College; and Wes White, soccer, UMKC.
    White, who spent much of the post-signing session holding his 8-year-old brother Owen, said Thursday was like a dream come true signing with the NCAA Division I Kangaroos.
    "I've been dreaming about this day since I was 3 years old and playing soccer at BVAC (Blue Valley Activities Center)," said White, the Suburban Middle Seven MVP. "I dreamed of playing soccer in high school and dreamed of playing Division I soccer and both of those dreams came true today."
    When asked about signing with UMKC, he said the school offered everything he was looking for.
    "I wanted to go to a school with a good program that was close to home so Owen and my family could come watch me play," White said.
    That comment brought a smile and high-five from Owen.
    "I think today's class will be remembered as the foundation for future classes at Chrisman," White said, "and I'm so proud to be a part of this class. We've reached a new level at Chrisman and I think this is just the beginning."
    Ogle agreed.
    "We've had some Division I kids and some classes with four or five kids, but nothing like today," Ogle said as parents and coaches stood behind their student-athletes to take photos and share memories.
    Four years ago, Wheeler said she never envisioned college in her future.
    "No one thought about me going to college," said Wheeler, a member of The Examiner's 2012-13 All-Area basketball team. "Now, I'm going to Johnson County for two years to work on my game and the sky's the limit.
    "I want to work hard and see what I can do after my two years at Johnson County. This is an exciting time for our school and it's an exciting time in my life."
    Page 2 of 2 - It's also an exciting time for Gilliland and Troutman, who have meant so much to coach John Crutcher's football program.
    "I tried to redshirt them so I'd have them for another year," joked Crutcher, who sported an ear-to-ear smile. "They have meant so much to this program. Now, I can go watch them play at the next level and they won't have to worry about me yelling at them."
    After posing for some family photos, Gilliland talked about the impact of the signing session.
    "This is so exciting, it just feels awesome," said Gilliland, who received a $1,000 scholarship from the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. "I have visited Graceland and really liked it, but when I went to Central Methodist I just felt like I was home.
    "I think I might get the opportunity to play a lot my freshman year – at least that's the plan."
    Troutman believes he will fit right into the future plans at NCAA Division II Emporia State.
    "I think I'll play my freshman year," Troutman said. "I like everything about Emporia State the school, the coaches, the players I met, the academics, the weight room – everything."
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
     
     
     
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