Senior athletes sign to play at collegiate level

Elly Green, Print Production Manager

Playing any sport at the collegiate level requires years of work in both high school and years before. Senior signings work as a formal recognition for high school senior athletes who are signing to a college or university to continue their athletic career. 

Senior Gracie Rains recently signed to continue her volleyball career at Fort Hays State University, where she will play as an outside hitter and major in animal science. Rains decided on her college due mostly to sports and outside programs. 

“I was looking at their agriculture programs and sports teams,” Rains said. “I had been in contact with a few colleges and went on my first college visit to Fort Hays and it was such a good school and I fell in love with how involved the community is with the school and their Ag programs are really good. Their volleyball program is pretty good with great coaching staff.”

Rains has been playing volleyball since fourth grade, coming up on nine years in the sport. She says that it all started with Rec League volleyball, which eventually grew into higher levels of playing.

“Eventually I got to middle school volleyball then finally high school volleyball and my freshman year I started playing competitive club volleyball,” Rains said. 

Senior Caleb Koontz chose to continue playing golf at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, taking after his parents who attended Bethel.

“My family all went to Bethel, and I was also able to receive academic scholarships from Bethel as well so I thought it’d be a good fit for me,” Koontz said. 

Koontz’s main reason for wanting to have a formal signing was the idea of having all of your biggest supporters there to celebrate your accomplishment. 

“I’d seen other student athletes doing formal signings and thought it was nice to get all your friends and family to come and see you,” Koontz said. 

Senior Kenyon Forest signed to continue track and field at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). Forest said that his main reason for going to UNK was based on his love for Nebraska, not including the track program and academic influences. 

The program itself is on the incline and all of their staff knows what they’re doing and what they need to fix to have success,” Forest said. “Kearney also has a University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) on campus so it’s a much cheaper option for nursing school than going into the actual UNMC in Lincoln.” 

Senior Kamryn Archibald has been dancing competitively since she was nine years old after being introduced to dance by her long-term dance coach, Kiley McCord. When Archibald was in fourth grade, McCord opened a competitive dance studio which Archibald immediately joined and continued with until her sophomore year of high school. Archibald signed to Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas for dance in March.

“A month ago, I was honestly really lost and so confused on where to go to college and what I wanted to do,” Archibald said. “My former dance coach happens to be the coach at Bethel and she called me one day to talk about an opportunity to dance for her. A few days after the phone call, I went and met the team and that really influenced my decision in going there.”