Athletes commit on National Signing Day

Ore James, Staff Writer

This afternoon, eight seniors gathered on the auditorium stage to officially commit to colleges for National Athletic Scholarship Signing Day.

The event began with an introduction from head football coach and campus athletic director Sam Parker. Each of the athletes and their coaches gave a speech before officially signing with their schools.

Italie Speziale will attend Blinn College for softball. The senior, a four-time varsity letter, plans to major in business.

“This has been an incredible journey but softball has made me who I am today,” Speziale said. “I can’t wait to see where softball takes me.”

Karli Rose committed to LSU for volleyball, leaving high school with a record number of career assists.

“I couldn’t have asked for better coaches my senior year,” Rose said. “Some advice given to me, which I’d like to give to kids who want to play sports in college, is, ‘Continue to work hard in all you do.'”

Peyton Pauze signed with Jacksonville State University to play beach volleyball. While she considers it an “unusual” sport, she has stuck with it since she switched from indoor volleyball at the age of 13.

“Playing in college has been my number one goal since I started playing in third grade,” Pauze said.

With another soccer season to go, Briana Beaty will continue playing at the University of North Texas.

“I’m sad to leave Wildcat Soccer, but really excited to play for college,” Beaty said.

Jordan Gidrey plans to play football for the Air Force Academy. After breaking his foot at the first football game this year, he came back for the seventh game to finish the season.

“Since seventh grade, we’ve all talked about signing one day, we’ve all worked really hard,” Gidrey said. “This day didn’t come by surprise. I worked each and every day to achieve my goals.”

Christian Lovick, a football player who broke several school records in just two years, committed to the University of Tulsa.

“I’m ready to start my next challenge at Tulsa,” Lovick said. “Until next time, TMHS.”

Baseball player Austin Roccaforte, a two-time all-district selection, will continue playing at Wichita State University as a Shocker.

“I’ll be at Wichita for college, but I’ll forever be a wildcat,” Roccaforte said.

The last athlete to give a speech, Tim Williamson, is committed to baseball at Harvard University.

“At first I thought I was going to Rice,” Williamson said. “Come senior year, that was gone. It’s been a grind.”

The event concluded with a slideshow of pictures and videos of the players on-and-off the field.