Large Truman High School signing class inks letters of intent
Truman High School activities director Daniel Bieser was getting nervous early Tuesday morning, as an empty high school gymnasium loomed in the background as he checked his watch.
It was 6:24 and none of the signees of the Spring College Signing Day Class of 2021 had arrived.
"Hope it's not too early for them," quipped Bieser, as the doors to the gym opened and members of the class, their coaches and parents began to arrive.
Then, in a socially distanced ceremony, they signed their letters, including Runey Hernandez, basketball, Missouri Valley; Jayson Boatright, football, Truman State; Josh Nunn, cross country and track, Missouri S&T; Ymani Rippy, cheerleading, University of Central Missouri; Lailah Stoneburner, dance, Missouri S&T; and Kailey Sterling, dance, University of Central.
Quincy Scott, who will play football at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and Devron Rivera, who will play football at Iowa Wesleyan University, did not attend the ceremony.
"This is always one of my favorite days," Bieser said. "It's great to see all their hard work and dedication play off. These students are the epitome of what great role models we have at Truman."
Football head coach Charlie Pugh lauded Boatright for his excellence, both on and off the football field after he signed with the NCAA Division II Truman State.
"Jayson plays with a fierce toughness and competitive spirit, which, in a lot of ways, is the way the game is meant to be played," Pugh said. "As tough as he is on the field, he is a kind and considerate student leader off the field. While we'll miss his presence on the field, we are excited to see Jayson continue his career at Truman State."
Boatright, who played a variety of positions at Truman but is best known for his work at linebacker, won the Derrick Thomas Third and Long Service Scholarship for his work in the community. That includes volunteering at Harvesters, working on the paint and cleanup crews for the Independence School District's Project Shine and volunteering at Drumm Farm.
"I believe it is important to give something back to your school and your community," Boatright said. "My mom got me involved in community service when I was young, and I really enjoyed it. And now it's just a part of my everyday life – something I look forward to."
He is also looking forward to playing football and attending Truman State.
"The next big chapter," Boatright said. "I can't wait to get to Truman State."
Hernandez was a standout on coach Rod Briggs' boys basketball team.
"This is a big day for Runey and me," Briggs said, "because we had four young men sign last year and we were not able to have the signing ceremony because of COVID. "I'm excited for Runey because I have seen him grow and develop within our program and I know that growth and improvement will continue at Missouri Valley. That school and program is a great fit for Runey."
Truman cross country and track and field coach Marcus Summers praised Nunn, who is one of the premier distance runners in the state – in both cross country and track and field.
"Josh has a passion for running that I share, and I am so excited for him," Summers said. "He has been a tremendous example of hard work and dedication over the past four years to our program. His love for running is one of a kind."