Surrounded by coaches, teammates, family and friends, high school athletes around the Bryan-College Station area participated in signing day Wednesday, officially committing to further their education and athletic careers in college.
College Station had 13 student-athletes sign their letters of intent during a ceremony in the school’s auditorium. The Lady Cougar softball signees included Jessica Carreon (Texas- Arlington), Nicole Goggin (Union), Hailey Hudson (Houston), Hannah Paul (Kansas Wesleyan), Jalen Perez (Tyler), Hannah Schnettler (Texas-Tyler) and Brionna Warren (Texas A&M). College Station’s baseball signees included Zachary Childers (Baylor) and Dillon Janac (Rice), while Kate Georgiades signed with TCU in volleyball; Zoe Kelton signed with Mary Hardin-Baylor in women’s golf; and Kalyn Dujka and Katelyn Kolodziejczyk also signed with Mary Hardin-Baylor in gymnastics.
Softball head coach Brandy Gibson opened up the ceremony with a tearful message to the softball players. The three-time district champions had its biggest signing class this year with seven.
“They are a huge part of why we’re three-time district champions and are two-time regional semifinalists,” Gibson said. “These girls, we knew that they were something special when they all came to camp as eighth graders before getting to high school. We saw them and we said, ‘Wow, they’re special.’”
Hudson originally committed to Texas before switching to Houston in late October.
“This is definitely the biggest dream come true ever,” the two-time all-state pitcher said. “The coaching staff is great. I’ve always loved Houston, since I was a kid, but everything that happened with the recruiting process, God led me to U of H.”
Warren is a two-sport athlete at College Station, also starting for the volleyball team that reached the regional quarterfinals. Like Hudson, she’s a three-time, first-team all-district softball player and says she is excited to play for the Aggies.
“I hope to bring a lot of fun to the team,” Warren said. “I’m really excited to compete with some of the best athletes in the country. I’m thankful for everybody who helped me through the whole process and letting me get to this point.”
Dujka and Kolodziejczyk made school history as the first athletes from gymnastics to sign with colleges. The best friends each hold multiple regional titles.
“It was a unique opportunity for both of us to be able to go to the same college,” Dujka said. “It’s crazy that we both have done gymnastics with each other for the longest time, since the fifth grade when I started coming up here and doing gymnastics in College Station. We’ve been friends ever since.”
At Bryan, Coco Gillett and Claire Beesaw signed to play at Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M, respectively. Beesaw will join her sister Evelyn Beesaw on the A&M equestrian team, while Gillett holds five individual records for the Lady Vikings volleyball team, compiling over 2,000 kills, 145 blocks, 146 aces and over 1,100 digs in her high school career.
“It’s pretty incredible for someone to give to a program that much,” head volleyball coach Chelsie Lemley said of Gillett. “SFA is gaining a true athlete and volleyball player.”
Gillett said SFA felt like the right place for her and she hopes to work her way up the ladder once she gets there.
“College is a different animal, but my first goal would be to just play and work hard my freshman year,” Gillett said. “I’m really excited for what’s going to happen, because it’s definitely competitive and it’s definitely a faster pace. It’s going to be really awesome.”
A&M Consolidated had six student-athletes sign Wednesday. Maddie McKinney signed to play volleyball at Houston Baptist, with five baseball players —Daniel Altman (Lamar), Garrett Wright (TCU), Connor Kaiser (Angelina), Colson Sledge (East Texas Baptist) and James Vaughn (Southwestern Christian) — also signing their letters of intent.
Rudder senior post Deondra Young will sign with the Sam Houston State women’s basketball team Thursday. Young officially announced her commitment in August and said she wanted to stay close to home for her mom and sisters.
“I had different options to go to different schools, but when I went on my first visit to Sam Houston, I felt more comfortable,” Young said. “It felt like home. It wasn’t too big. It wasn’t too small. It was just perfect.”
Young has been a key starter for Rudder in season’s past, but head coach John Shelton said her ability to lead her teammates is what makes her great.
“She’s a great kid, a perfect role model for all our other kids,” Shelton said. “She takes care of her business in the class ... she’s just great.”