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15 Copperas Cove high school athletes commit to play at the college level


Cove Leader-Press


“Each year, there are a little over 800,000 athletes that participate in high school sports in Texas, but only 7% of high school athletes earn the opportunity to play at the collegiate level,” said athletic director Cari Lowery. “The athletes sitting in front of you today are part of that select 7%.”

On Wednesday, 15 talented student-athletes celebrated with a Collegiate Signing Celebration in the Copperas Cove High School gym. Mike Uini, a 16th athlete, signed early to play football for Georgia. At Wednesday’s celebration, each signing athlete had their name and future college read aloud and their coaches gave a small speech about them.

A number of the athletes had the distinction of signing with NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities.

For soccer, Emily Post signed with Louisiana State University, a Division 1 college, Brianna Miles signed with Texas Southern University, a Division 1 college, and Alexis Skye Smith signed with Mississippi Valley State University, a Division 1 college.

Smith said that she’s a versatile player capable of playing any position except for goalie or striker. Smith said that she chose her university because she really liked the coach and didn’t mind travelling outside of Texas. 

“It was such a welcoming community,” said Smith. 

She said that she is undecided about what degree she will ultimately pursue, but for now she will be working towards a degree in business management. She said that she is glad that she will be able to play soccer as she feels that it will help with offsetting the academic side of college. Smith said that she loves playing soccer and it is a sort of release for her.

“When I play, all of my problems go away,” said Smith.

For softball, there were four talented athletes. Iliana Buitron signed with Howard Payne University, Gabby Emeana signed with Alabama A&M University, a Division 1 college, Larissa Perez signed with Texas A&M University, a Division 1 college, and Joleeana Hair signed with New Mexico State University, a Division 1 college.

Hair called herself a utility player and is looking forward to attending college.

“It’s just a great environment,” said Hair. “The coach is great, it’s near family, and it’s actually really pretty there. It’s near the mountains…It’s a good school.”

Hair said that she received All-Academic honors all four years that she played and also earned 1st Team as well as several team awards.

“I’ve been working my whole life for this. It’s just going to be an amazing experience,” said Hair. She added that she wouldn’t have been able to have accomplished as much as she has without all of the support she has received.

Bryan Waller, Head Softball Coach, said that he was extremely proud of the four talented softball players who signed for a college/university on Wednesday, three of which signed for Division 1 schools.

“It’s a unique thing that doesn’t happen too often,” said Waller. He said that not only is he impressed by his students’ athletic prowess, he is especially impressed by how willing his athletes are to give back, many of which spent time volunteering with younger students and helping in the community. Waller said that many of them have also been very successful academically as well.

“They set out for this dream, and they’ve achieved this dream. They are going to achieve so much in life because of their work ethic,” said Waller.

For football, Micah Casson signed for Texas Lutheran University and Demetrius Pearce signed with Trinity Valley Community College.

Pearce said that he felt that Trinity Valley would give him the best route towards hopefully joining a Division 1 school in the future. 

“I feel like this is my best path,” said Pearce. “Football is my passion. I wake up and I think about football.”

For basketball, Taylor Wilson signed with Midwestern State University.

For dance, Annilynn Rowberry signed with Tarleton State University.

For volleyball, Kaylee Rodarte signed with the University of Dallas.

For wrestling, Darlene Smith signed with Schreiner University.

For powerlifting, Michaela Grimm signed with Sam Houston State University and Amya Moss signed with University of North Texas.

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