Spanish Springs Athletic Director Art Anderson typically hosts signing ceremonies in the small area outside the school’s massive gym.
So many athletes signed national letters of intent in Wednesday afternoon’s ceremony, the event had to be moved into the gym.
Twelve now former Spanish Springs student athletes made their future athletic and academic plans official, rounding out a total of 17 seniors from the 2016 class who will play a sport collegiately. Three signed national letters of intent in November and a pair signed in February.
The 17 total signees were the second most in school history, trailing only the 2014 class, which sent an absurd 30 athletes to the next level.
A trio made of baseball players will continue their careers at Folsom Lake College – a community college: Carson McCusker (outfield), Alan Lummel (pitcher/infield) and Joey Arterburn (pitcher/infield).
McCusker, a first-team all-region selection this spring, chose Folsom over the likes of Lassen (Community College) and Willamette University—an NCAA Div. III program in Salem, Ore.
He said the three future Falcons all corroborated when choosing where they would play college ball.
“It’s going to be really fun,” McCusker said. “I’m excited for sure.”
Three football players also signed letters of intent. The list was highlighted by punter Jake Ward, who is staying home and playing for the Wolf Pack.
He chose Nevada over Chadron State—an NCAA Div. II affiliate in Nebraska.
“It’s a blessing. It’s awesome. I’m so excited,” Ward said. “The coaching staff is awesome. It’s my hometown and I love it here. I don’t want to leave.”
Ward will likely begin next fall behind senior Alex Boy, who averaged 42 yards a punt as a junior. Ward averaged 42.3 yards a punt last fall with the Cougars with a long of 52.
Lineman Chase Jones signed at Sierra College (a community college Rocklin, Calif.) and running back Travis Vargas inked his plans to play at Luther College (a Div. III school in Decorah, Iowa).
Ward wasn’t the only Spanish Springs senior who will be staying put. Distance runner Lauryn Massic will run on the cross country and track teams for the Wolf Pack.
Massic, the 2016 class valedictorian at Spanish Springs, finished seventh in the DI North cross country regional race in the fall and went on to take 15th at state.
She chose Nevada over a handful of other schools, including UNLV, which waited until “the other week” to contact her.
“I’ve always been set on Nevada,” Massic said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to stay home.”
She was candid when explaining her emotions about making the leap from running in the DI North at the prep level, to running in the Mountain West at the collegiate level.
“I’m definitely terrified, nervous. But hey, I’m going to be running with some of the best of the best,” she said. “If I’m in the back, I’ll eventually get up there.”
Two members of the wrestling program who helped lead the Cougars to their fourth straight regional title (seventh in eight years) and their best ever finish at state, second, will wrestle at Santa Rosa Junior College (located north of San Francisco): Blake Boswell and Reece Massett.
The DI 145-pound state champion this winter, Boswell chose Santa Rosa over Kansas Wesleyan University (an NAIA school in Salina, Kansas) and others in the Midwest.
“I wanted to stay kind of close,” Boswell said. “I’m far enough to be away but close enough (to come home).”
Regan Hubbard and Kayleen Garrick put a bow on a busy week after helping lead the Cougars to the DI softball state title on Saturday.
Hubbard will play for Midland College (a junior college in Midland, Tex.) and Garrick will play at Eastern Nazarene College (an NCAA Div. III program in Quincy, Mass.)
Volleyball player Sami Szachara completed the list of 12 signees.
The second-team all-league selection last fall will play for the Oregon Institute of Technology – an NAIA school in Klamath Falls, Ore.