Seniors commit to post-secondary schools, continue athletic careers

Seniors+Carson+Bowen%2C+Scott+Frantz%2C+and+Michael+Georgie+sign+to+play+sports+at+their+college+of+choice.+Bowen%2C+Frantz%2C+and+Georgie+were+all+players+for+Free+State%27s+football+team.+%22The+positive+is+that+we+are+able+to+recognize+the+accomplishments+of+our+student-athletes+and+celebrate+their+continued+participation+at+the+college+level%2C%22+Athletic+Director%2C+Mike+Hill%2C+said.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Baker

Seniors Carson Bowen, Scott Frantz, and Michael Georgie sign to play sports at their college of choice. Bowen, Frantz, and Georgie were all players for Free State's football team. "The positive is that we are able to recognize the accomplishments of our student-athletes and celebrate their continued participation at the college level," Athletic Director, Mike Hill, said.

When senior Scott Frantz signed his letter of intent to play football at Kansas State University, emotions were running high. Frantz thanked everyone who helped him along in his athletic journey.

“[Signing] was a really amazing feeling,” Frantz said. “It was nice to know after such a long recruiting process that it’s finally officially over.”

Frantz started playing football in fifth grade because his friends did, but over time he found a talent in his hobby, prompting a multitude of Division I schools, including the University of Kansas and the University of Minnesota, to send him offers to play for their teams.

Frantz’s college choice came down to which team he fit into best, which was KSU.

Many senior student athletes are signing letters of intent as they prepare to transition from high school to collegiate athletics.

As senior Kiara Clark, who signed to run for Academy of Art University in San Francisco, physically prepares for her final track season, she also prepares for collegiate life far from home.

“[Academy of Art] is in my favorite city in the world, which is San Francisco—it’s the place I love most and where I’ve always wanted to live,” Clark said.

When choosing a college, Clark wanted to focus chiefly on academics and athletics secondarily. However, the Academy of Art’s athletic success in its division won her over.

“I wanted to go somewhere that was going to be somewhat low pressure,” Clark said. “But [Acadamy of Art was] the DII [Pacific West] Division and the DII Champions last year, and I liked that.”

Clark has narrowed her field of study to two majors and plans on studying either Writing for Film or Multimedia Communication.

“I don’t have to take regular general education classes; I just go straight into my major and what I’m going to study,” Clark said. “I’m really looking forward to learning … at the best level you can about what you love most.”

For varsity cross-country runner senior Cole Stallard, who is running at Baker University in the fall, recruitment came as an unexpected but welcome surprise.

“I was never the fastest so I didn’t really intend on ever running in college, but a coach came and talked to me, and after I investigated the opportunity, it kind of opened that door,” Stallard said.

Stallard plans on going into medicine and is excited for the opportunities that Baker has to offer.

“There are a lot of research opportunities at Baker, and I’m excited for that,” Stallard said.

Unlike most students her age, when the school day ends, instead of going home or to work, senior Natalie Rainbolt begins the 65 mile drive to Kearney, Mo. to Fuzion gym for her gymnastics practice.

Rainbolt knew she wanted to compete at a higher level, and now her years of hard work are finally paying off. In the fall, she signed to compete for Utah State University’s gymnastics team on a full ride athletic scholarship.

“[I’ve done gymnastics] since I was one-and-a-half,” Rainbolt said. “All the schools that I was recruited by were DI. I had that goal from when I was probably in like sixth grade.”

Like Rainbolt, senior soccer player Hannah Reussner, who will be playing soccer at Central College in Pella, Iowa, knew she wanted to continue her sport in college. It was a matter of finding the right school to accommodate her academic and athletic needs.

“I knew I wanted to play soccer in college because I wasn’t ready to quit,” Reussner said. “But I also wanted to make sure that academics was as important as soccer, so I chose a [Division III] school.”

For some athletes, injuries can interrupt a sport’s season and an athlete’s morale, but Reussner’s injury shaped her post-college plans.

“My overall goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon,” Reussner said. “That is actually related to soccer because I’ve had so many injuries because of soccer. It just gave me a passion to work with other athletes.”

At Utah State, Rainbolt plans on studying Exercise Science or Business and has no plans of continuing gymnastics after college.

“A lot of people become coaches and stuff, but I’m not really interested in that,” Rainbolt said.

Frantz plans to go into Criminology or Special Education if his dream of becoming a professional football player isn’t reached.

“That’s obviously my dream to play at the next level, you know professionals, but I know that the chance of that is pretty slim,” Frantz said.

Regardless of whether they continue their sport after college, these student athletes appreciate being able to play post-high school while pursuing a college degree.

“I’m just so excited to be able to do both,” Stallard said.