The spring signing period for high school athletes to sign letters of intent to play sports in college began last week and on Wednesday, April 12, a number of Northwest athletes inked those documents to continue their athletic careers.
Three area schools, Ironwood Ridge, CDO and Mountain View held ceremonies to honor those athletes.
Ironwood Ridge held their ceremony early in the morning, setting the tone for the day.
Three Nighthawk football players signed. Tommy Baden will play for Ohio Wesleyan in an NCAA Division III school in Delaware, Ohio. Baden had 48 tackles and two interceptions for the Nighthawks as a senior, and took one of the picks to the house. He also had seven catches for 80 yards and three scores last season. Niko Madlangbayan became one of the first players to commit to play football for the brand new NAIA program at Ottawa University in Surprise, Arizona.
As a senior Madlangbayan had 35 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. Running back Soma Ikaika Helu will play for the California College of the Redwoods, a junior college in Eureka, California. Helu rushed for 904 yards and 13 scores in just eight games last season. Helu injured his knee during that eighth game and missed the final four games of the season. Over the course of his three-year varsity career, Helu rushed for 1,383 yards and 18 scores.
Two volleyball players made their choices. Jaclyn Inclan will stay in town and play both indoor and beach volleyball for the University of Arizona. She is currently starring for the Nighthawks’ beach volleyball team, which has qualified for the postseaon in the state’s newest sport.
Makenna Ohlmaier will play at Lewis and Clark college in Portland, Oregon. Full stats were not posted for the team for last season, but as a junior Ohlmaier had 101 kills and 30 aces for the Nighthawks.
Soccer player Mariah Loya will play at Tennessee’s Maryville College. Loya was fourth on the Nighthawk’s in scoring, second among seniors with six goals and three assists, while playing midfield for Ironwood Ridge.
Boys soccer player Ethan Krabbendam will attend the Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA), which is a year-round soccer and academic program in a suburb of Leeds, England. RIASA RIASA is the only program that provides the opportunity for students to play-year round, in a top soccer academy environment, whilst earning their accredited American Degree. Krabbendam played 17 games in goal for the Nighthawks. He had 105 saves and gave up just 2.4 goals a game.
Cole Gerken had opportunities to continue his football career, but chose to play basketball at Pima College and is one of the centerpieces of the Aztec’s recruiting class. He 6-4 Gerken averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Nighthawks this year. He was also the quarterback for the football team.
Baseball season is still underway, but two Ironwood Ridge players now know where they will play their college ball. Jacob Allen will play at Cal State Bakersfield. Allen is currently hitting .328 with 29 runs scored and eight of his 19 hits going for extra bases. A speedy player he also has a team-high 17 stolen bases. He hit .467 as a junio.r
Greg Brown will play at Gateway Community College. Brown is batting .329 with 24 RBI and 20 runs scored.
Mountain View held their signing ceremony mid-day, honoring 11-student athletes.
Five football players officially chose their schools. Wide receiver Isaiah Lovett turned down some smaller school opportunity, to be a preferred walk-on at the University of Arizona. Lovett actually signed with the Wildcats back in February and was announced by the school at their signing day press conference. The 6-4 Lovett was one of the top receivers in the state, catching 62 balls for 1,252 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is following in the footsteps of his father and uncle, who both played for the Wildcats in the 1990’s.
Fellow receiver Sebastian Spencer will play at Colorado-State Pueblo. The speedy Spencer not only caught 52 passes for 908 yards and 9 scores, but also added two rushing scores, and three touchdowns in the return game.
Defensive back LaRon Cook will attend Missouri Baptist in St. Louis. Cook had 57 tackles as a senior and broke up six passes.
Quarterback Caleb Ryden moves on to Pima College. Ryden threw for 2,607 yards and 26 scores last season and added 662 yards and 14 scores on the ground.
Devin Johnson Mahoney signed two letters for both Concordia University in Minnesota and Pima College, keeping his options open. He had 105 solo tackles as a senior and 161 for his Mountain View career.
Two wrestlers signed last week. Devin Easby
Devin Easby is off to Central College in Pella, Iowa. Easby. He will rejoin former Marana teammate Blake Proper at the school. Easby finished 5th in the state at 145 and concluded his senior seas with a 34-10 record.
Frankie Lee will wrestle for St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Lee went 46-5 as a senior, finishing third in the state at the 152-pound division.
Three softball players signed, with Sara Mejia-Angulo and Andrea Hernandez signing with Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Fellow Mountain Lion Samantha Quezada will play at Lassen Community College in Susanvlle, California. Current statistics were not available for the Mountain View softball team.
Kaitlin Schmich signed to play volleyball at Pima College. Schmich was a three-year starter for the Mountain Lions and helped lead them to three consecutive tournament appearances. She had 89 kills, 139 digs and 13 blocks as a senior.
Canyon Del Oro closed out the day with a late afternoon signing ceremony. Two softball and two baseball players signed to continue their careers.
Infielder Arylene Campos will play for Georgetown. A stellar student with a 4.0 GPA, she is currently hitting .267 with 10 runs and 10 RBI’s. Illena Santos signed with Central Arizona College. She is hitting .421 for the Dorados so far this season.
Baseball players Mason Myhre and Michael Santorelli will both stay in state. Santorelli will pitch for Pima College next season. He is currently 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA. Myhre will head to Prescott and pitch for Yavapai College. The 6-3 lefty is 3-1 so far this season.
Two football linemen signed as well. Jared Sheeley will play at Northern Arizona. The defensive tackle had 29 tackles and 5 sacks last season and will join teammate Jonas Leader in Flagstaff. Leader signed back in February. Zachary Hightower is off to Lawrence Tech in Michigan. He is part of the school’s first recruiting class as they bring the sport back for the first time in 70 years. Hightower will give the Blue Devils a big 6-3, 290-pound lineman.
Cross Country runner Michael Madigan will run for Embry Riddle University. Madigan was 13th in the state at the Division II Cross Country Championships back in November. Hurdler Chelsey Murphy inked with Western State Colorado University. Last year at the Division II state track and field championships Murphy was sixth in the 100 Meter Hurdles and fifth in the 300 Meter Hurdles. She also played for the Dorado’s girls basketball team.
Although not an AIA varsity sport, Dorado student Caiden Plummer signed to be a part of the cycling team at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.