The first Wednesday in February has been on athletes’ calendars for years.
The act of picking up a pen and signing a scholarship offer signifies something different to everyone sitting at a table at their school’s auditorium because everyone’s path to becoming a collegiate athlete varies.
For some the recruiting process was infuriating while waiting for the right fit, or frustrating while waiting for that first offer while others around you are tweeting daily about their new offer.
It can get humbling and even dark when waiting on something that has been the goal for so very long. The athlete is dominating on the field, doing everything right off it and yet no offers entering the final stages of the season.
“The process has been very, very long,” said Mesa running back Kris Jackson, who is headed to Weber State. “There’s been many nights I’d sit and cry thinking I wouldn’t get the opportunity to play at the next level. All the hard work that I put in and what I did on the field finally payed off and now I’m super excited.”
Others embrace it and enjoy every moment of it with it culminating with their parent(s) taking pictures of them with the name of the school they chose to continue their academic and athletics at for the next two or four years emblazoned across their chest.
No matter how the process went for the athletes at Mesa schools that prideful day finally came on Wednesday.
“This day is like a dream come true,” said Red Mountain football player Lance Lawson, who is headed to Southern Utah University after a record-breaking career. “The process has been kind of a rollercoaster, but once I sat down and met with the SUU coaches it’s been really good.”
Area athletes signed national letters of intent to play baseball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, softball, swim and dive and volleyball to schools near and far.
Red Mountain has a stellar senior class, which has led to several region titles and what must be close to a million dollars in scholarship money, with 30 or so athletes signing to play at the next level during the two different signing periods.
“The Class of 2018 has truly been a special group of student-athletes,” Red Mountain athletic director Jim Gowdy said. “Many of these seniors, in a variety of sports, have made solid contributions at the varsity level since their freshman year.”
The key now that it is official is being ready to take that next step, along with thanking those who helped along the way.
“The most important excitement for me is to be part of the family they have built in the program, and to start back at phase one for a new chapter in my life,” said Desert Ridge defensive lineman Christian Medeiros, who is headed to the University of Sioux Falls. “From here on out it’s long hours of preparation and grind time to play for my first college game.”
Red Mountain safety Justin Coleman is an emotional player and even more thankful, going all the way back to his eighth-grade coach, his defensive back Kyle Enders being a father figure, head coach Mike Peterson making him a man and strength and conditioning coach Ben Brandau teaching him how to be a leader.
And, of course, his parents.
“I have always been the kid that was too small or not fast enough but with my football IQ and work ethic it has gotten me to this position today,” said Coleman, who is headed to Minot State University. “My parents helped me through my journey the most.”
Jackson leaned on his parents more times than not.
“They’re the ones who’d kept me going when times got rough,” he said. “They’ve always believed in me and had my back through thick and thin and I can count on them and the rest of my family to continue to do so.”
— Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send human interest story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the list college signings for the seven Mesa schools:
Caden Bethel – Rocky Mountain College
Donjae Logan – Stanford University
Christian Medeiros – University of Sioux Falls
Ty Miller – Arizona Christian University
Cooper Stauss – Rocky Mountain College
Bobby Tomerlin – Ottawa University
Kris Jackson – Weber State
Moises Guevara – Ottawa University (AZ)
Adrian Rivera – Ottawa University (AZ)
Sara Vendrick – Mesa Community College
C.J. Keeton – Mesa Community College
Moises Durazo-Porchas – Mesa Community College
Ivan Chaparro – Mesa Community College
Jesus Valenzuela – South Mountain Community College
Danny Guerrero Lopez – South Mountain Community College
Sam Clow – Dixie State University
Austin Duffy – New Mexico State University
Randy Hutson – Gateway CC
Bobby Meza – Yavapai College
Tyler Rice – University of Texas – Arlington
Conner Thurman – University of Arizona
Timmy Allen – University of Utah
Amaya West – University of Nevada
Justin Coleman – Minot State University
Delton Jackson – Southern Virginia University
Mack Klafter – Scottsdale CC
Lance Lawson – Southern Utah University
Riley Pagel – Northern Arizona University
Joseph Sanchez – University of Minnesota – Crookston
Nick Scow – Southern Virginia University
Gerald Wilbson – Southern Utah University
Gabe Williams – Ottawa University
Cameron Barzekoff – Boise State
Abraham Elmore – Winona State University
Britton Liming – Mesa CC
Kendall McBean – Embry-Riddle University
Julianne Dominguez – University of Arizona
Ryan Metera – Embry-Riddle University
Sara Svoboda – Chandler-Gilbert CC
Matisen Onofrei – Texas A&M – Kingsville
Swim & Dive
Emily Brooks – Grand Canyon University
Olivia Grossklaus – Southern Methodist University
Alexis Letts – San Diego State University
Rachel Ray – California Lutheran University
Kayla Subbert – Sacramento State University
Aaron Romero – Southern Utah
Sam To’oto’o – Mesa Community College
Brian Strobel – Ottawa University
Matthew Campbell – Ottawa University
Darius Glover – Mesa Community College
Dylan Bean – Ottawa University
Sara Hansen – Mesa Community College