College signings go on despite school closures
By TJ MAXWELL
As the world takes its first steps towards normalcy with the reopening of selected businesses, some athletes are taking the next steps in their academic and athletic careers with some unorthodox ceremonies.
Several Copperas student-athletes took that step this week as they held signing ceremonies at their homes with limited family and friends.
The Bulldawgs’ wrestling program saw their first-ever signing as two-time district champion Lane Robison signed to wrestle for the University of the Ozarks – Arkansas in Clarksville Arkansas during a ceremony with family on Thursday.
“It’s a big milestone for me,” said Robison. “I’m really excited to be able to do the sport I love in college. It’s a big deal that I’m the first from our school to be able to sign to wrestle in college. I committed a lot of my life to this sport. I’ve been wrestling since I was in third grade.”
Robison had 169 career wins as a member of the Bulldawgs’ wrestling team. In eighth grade he finished second at the Brute Nationals and was a four-time regional qualifier and placed twice at regionals.
Familiarity with the staff helped Robison make his decision.
“The guy I beat for my first district title was from Leander,” he said. “His coach (Vinny Barber) was called up to coach at the (University of the Ozarks) and I was the first person he tried to recruit. I had other offers, but I had went to his camps before. They made me a better offer and I accepted.”
Two-sport athlete Ja’aliyah Segrest also signed a Letter of Intent to compete in track and field at Hutchison Community College in Kansas in a Wednesday ceremony with family.
Segrest was a regional qualifier in the long jump and was selected to the All-Star Track Team by the Texas Girls Coaches Association as a junior. She was also selected Academic All-District and nominated for Academic All State.
Girls’ track coach Christy Thompson was confident Segrest would make a return trip to regionals this year had the track season not been wiped out by the COVID-19 closures.
The volleyball program opened the week of signings on Monday with a trio of student-athletes making their commitments.
Leah Powell signed to play for Division I Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches that competes in the Southland Conference. Powell finished her career with 1,081 kills, 1,347 digs, 226 blocks and 79 aces. She was named to the District 12-6A First Team as a senior and led the team in kills with 485 and a .380 hitting percentage. She also led in serves received with 687 and was second in digs with 481.
Jaela Rice signed to play for the Huston Tillotson Lady Rams in Austin. Rice finished her career with 198 kills, 227 digs, 177 blocks and 26 aces…most of which came in her senior season. Rice was named to the 12-6A Second Team as a senior. She had a second-best 149 blocks, a fourth-best 144 kills and 165 digs as a senior for the Lady Dawgs.
Finally, Sam Ingram made her commitment to the Lady Eagles of Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Ingram finished her career at Cove with 638 assists, 311 digs, 160 kills, 56 blocks and 40 aces…almost all of which came as a senior. She was named to the 12-6A First Team as a senior where she was second on the team in assists with 632. She also had 152 kills, 137 digs, all 56 blocks and all 40 aces.