Photo and Story by Stephen Wise
On Wednesday, February 7th, recruits all across the nation put pen to paper and committed to continue both their athletic and academic career collegiately. Seven Dutch Fork athletes joined the thousands of young athletes whose playing careers don’t end on graduation day.
“I’m very excited; it’s a dream come true,” senior football play, Christian Johnson said. “I think it shows my teammates that there is a place for anyone in college sports; you just have to find a place that feels like home.”
The impact goes beyond the players’ signing, as their teammates watched and supported the signees, envisioning themselves in that place in a few years.
“I am very proud of [senior] Grayson [Horton],” sophomore Mark Kasir said. “Him signing makes me want to follow in his footsteps. I’ll work hard and train harder.”
By having players sign, it produces more name recognition for the athletics program and Dutch Fork as a whole. Math teacher Loribeth Lee said it makes her more interested in watching sports when they have former students involved.
“It gets our name out there, and it reflects well on the program,” Lee said, “It makes me want to watch sports when I know someone who is playing.”
Signing day is a special day for those who grew up with the signees as well, as they see firsthand the work the athletes put into their sport for a chance to play at the next level. Players are especially excited for senior soccer player, Grayson Horton.
“I am happy for Grayson,” senior Grant Wagner said. “ I’ve known him since I was in kindergarten and seeing him progress throughout his whole life and signing, I’m really happy for him.”
Multiple factors go into finding a home for the next four years, senior Donte Johnson said. Finding the best fit both academically and athletically is the ideal situation for almost every student athlete.
“I liked the campus a lot and the coaches,” Donte said. “They welcomed me with open arms and it’s the best fit for me. I grew up with these guys I signed with, and it’s sad going different places, but I know we’ll succeed.”
Dutch Fork athletics wants to set a standard of excellence, and that is exemplified by the number of athletes that signed on signing day.
“They work hard all year long. Most of the time we sign anywhere from five to 10 kids every year, and it is the result of all the hard work we put in during the summer time,” said Coach Scott. “It just shows that Dutch Fork strives for excellence and we succeed with excellence.”
After playing sports throughout their childhood, the journey continues for these seven athletes. As they carry on their athletic career, they keep in mind what the athletics program here at Dutch Fork has taught them and given them.
“This is the best program,” Dante said. “Dutch Fork sets you up for the next level. The Dutch Fork way is to do everything with excellence.”