Jaguars send class of 13 to college

By Bill Althaus
Thirteen Blue Springs South senior student-athletes signed their national letters of intent Wednesday at a ceremony at the high school.

Blue Springs South baseball coach Ben Baier stood to the side of the socially distanced South gymnasium Wednesday as seven of his players signed their national letters of intent, joining six other classmates who helped fill the court.

“It’s a little different this year, with all the social distancing,” Baier said, “but this is always such a special day for me when the guys who have worked and done so many things for your program are rewarded with college scholarships.”

Isaiah Frost headlined the baseball signees as he will attend the University of Missouri. Other signees are Ben Bryan, Lindenwood University; Ty Campbell, Fort Hays State; Wyatt Clark, University of Central Missouri; Quinton Robertson, Barton Community College; Trenton Treib, North Central Missouri; and Carson Elliott, Ottawa University, who was also the popular manager for the South volleyball team.

Like Frost, Aubrey LaPour and Tori Bradley signed with Division I programs. LaPour, the all-state frontline hitter for the Jaguar volleyball team, signed with Division I Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Bradley, an all-state catcher for the softball team, signed with Southeast Missouri State.

Blue Springs South senior signs with the Division I Bryant University volleyball program during a ceremony Wednesday at the high school.

Girls signing with Division II schools included softball pitcher Bre Barchak, who decided on Rockhurst; Ally Cisneros, who will play lacrosse at Missouri Western; and Lauren Gillig, who signed to play basketball at Northwest Missouri State.

“We had to social distance, and some of the signees didn’t get to have all their relatives of friends here,” said South activities director Tim Michael, who pulled off a flawless signing ceremony, complete with school-themed photo backdrop for each student, “but they all understand that things are a little bit different in the world of COVID.”

Frost said he had some concerns about signing when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out his junior baseball season.

Blue Springs South senior Isaiah Frost talks about why he decided on the University of Missouri baseball program after signing his national letter of intent Wednesday during a ceremony at the high school.

“It didn’t just wipe out the spring sports season, it wiped out everything, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen,” Frost said. “Then the coaches got in touch with me, and we communicated over a Zoom meeting and I was offered a scholarship – part sports and part academic.

“My dad played football at MU, and I have been an MU fan all my life, so this is like a dream come true. I really can’t believe it has happened, and today, it all seems real.”

Bradley, the two-time all-state catcher for the two-time state champion Jaguars softball team, has not been a Southeast Missouri State fan all her life.

Blue Springs South senior all-state catcher Tori Bradley shows off her school flag after signing with the Division I Southeast Missouri State softball program Wednesday in a ceremony at the high school.

“But I became a fan the minute I stepped on the campus,” Bradley said. “I fell in love with the campus, the coaches, the players – I fell in love with everything – and I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Bradley, who helped lead the Jaguars to two state titles, said she is eager for the new challenges that college will bring.

“I can’t wait,” Bradley said. “I kind of grew up in this (South) program, and I’m really excited about seeing what I can do at the next level. I know I still have a lot of growing up to do and the next four years are really going to be exciting.”

South softball coach Kristi Williams watched the signing ceremony and thought back to Bradley’s freshman year.

“She was this skinny little kid with braces who was playing on our JV team, and now, she’s this chiseled, amazing young woman who has helped our team accomplish so much over the past three years.

“Tori is proof to any high school player that you don’t need to be a four-year starter to become an all-state player or a state champion. She worked her way up as a freshman and became one of our best players over the past three years. And today, I am so proud of her, and everyone who signed today.”