TJ’s Got Athletes
May 23, 2012 by Mateo Rocha
Senior student athletes sign with colleges for athletic scholarships that ensure continuing sports careers for the departing Spartans.
On May 9th, 2012 Thomas Jefferson held a signing ceremony for six Spartans who will be moving on to the next level of athletic and academic performance at their respective colleges.
The ceremony invited the six athletes, their parents, their coaches, and any prospective student athletes that are seeking to gain a scholarship when it comes time for them as seniors to apply for colleges.
The six athletes were: Kiera Classen, who signed with Western State for swimming; Rebecca Randall, who signed with Hastings College for softball; Tyler Bybee, who signed with Adams State College for baseball; Evan Walter, who signed with Northeastern Junior College for baseball; Dominic Murray – who is the first TJ tennis athlete to sign with a college – signed with Hesston College, and Brandon Gonzales, who signed with University of Northern Colorado on terms for baseball or football.
Classen is the second female swimmer from TJ to sign for an athletic scholarship at a university. “Signing was unexpected. I didn’t see myself on the team at Western State, but I was able to make the team. They don’t have any funds since it’s the first year the programs open, but if I perform well this coming year, my second year at Western will be facilitated by an athletic scholarship,” said Classen.
Each athlete took the opportunity to stand up and express their gratitude towards their supporters who got them to the signing ceremony. Randall’s thank you included the interesting tale of a pact made between her and Walter back when they were Sophomores whilst observing a signing ceremony. “They decided that day that they were going to be at that table signing next to each other once they were Seniors, and they did it,” said TJ Athletic Director Lani Nobles.
Nobles was also present at the ceremony and has counseled the six individuals in the process of signing with their respective colleges and universities. “It’s one of the highest honors as the athletic director at TJ to have kids going on to play at a higher level, I’m excited that they have the skills athletically and academically. I believe this process is mainly about putting forth better human beings who excel in their sports and are still successful in college,” said Nobles.
The TJ coaches and administration work with every single Spartan athlete to make sure they excel in their sport. Even though she was not among the six others at the signing ceremony, TJ Senior Vanessa Gillespie signed a letter of intent for the second division track team at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.
Nobles aims to increase the support and possibilities in the future for prospective athletes who will sign with a college or a university. “It’s really important for underclassmen to understand what is in store for them athletically. We are making the accountability for coaches at TJ to aid athletes on their path towards a scholarship. If a student holds a good GPA and has athletic potential, that makes them very marketable for colleges. We need to be doing everything we can to get them to that table to sign,” said Nobles.