Cove Baseball and Cheer have early signings
By TJ MAXWELL
The pressure is off, and the fun begins for a pair of Bulldawg baseballers and a high-flying cheerleader.
Cove senior pitcher Christopher Lingo and first baseman Nathaniel Vasquez signed letters of intent to their respective colleges Texas A&M Kingsville and Dallas Christian College while cheerleader Thalia Thompson signed to cheer for MidAmerica Nazarene University in Oletha Kansas. The trio was recognized during a signing ceremony at Cove High’s Lea Ledger Auditorium Wednesday afternoon.
“There are a lot of practices that happen, Saturday’s given up, tons of money that goes into these guys or girls,” said Copperas Cove athletic director Jack Alvarez. “It gives them a chance to go do something they truly love in college and get an education at the same time.”
Lingo, a District 12-6A First Team Pitcher last year, is excited to get this weight off his shoulders and battle with his Cove teammates one final time.
“It’s a big relief actually,” he said. “Signing took all the pressure off. Now I can just go have fun with these guys I’ve been working hard with all Fall. I can just go have fun and win some ball games.”
Lingo will join head coach Jason Gonzales and the Javelins that went 30-20 last year in the NCAA Div. II Lone Star Conference.
“I really liked their pitching staff, their family environment and their facilities were gorgeous,” said Lingo. “I love their pitching coach (Philip Middleton) and the ways that he believes.”
They liked what they saw as well.
“I think it had a lot to do with the (velocity),” said Lingo. “I had a good feel with the ball when they saw me, and I guess they liked what they saw.”
Vasquez is also relieved to be done with this process before his senior season.
“This process was pretty stressful, and I struggled with it for a while,” he said. “Now, it’s over with and I can just focus on baseball.”
Vasquez impressed Dallas Christian head coach Denny Dixon and the Crusaders’ staff with his work ethic and his ability at the plate.
“They told me they liked my work ethic and they liked my bat, they especially liked my bat,” he said.”
Dallas Christian gives him a chance to get closer to home and his dreams of playing professional baseball.
“It’s close to my home in Dallas and it will give me a pretty good chance to develop into the player I want to be for my first year,” said Vasquez. “My overall goal is to play in the Major Leagues, and I feel like if I go there and develop for a year, I’ll be better off.”
Cove first-year head coach Bryant Lopez is excited for his guys future in college and this year in their senior season as Bulldawgs.
“I’m very excited for both of these guys,” he said. “They are going to play a big part in our success this year.”
Thompson is excited to be taking a familiar journey as she follows in the footsteps of her parents Matt and Tracy Thompson who are Pioneer alumnus.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to cheer in college since I first started high school cheer. Both of my parents are (MidAmerica Nazarene University) alumni so it’s really interesting to get to go there.”
The straight “A” student will add her flying skills to head coach Kalena Pana’s Lady Pioneer squad.
“(Coach Pana) really likes my flying skills,” she said. “They haven’t had a lot of elite flyers and I’m really excited to be a part of that and be a top flyer on a competition team and the sideline.”
Cove cheer coach Nikki Schulte knows MidAmerica is getting a good one.
“Talia Thompson is one of the most focused, determined and joyful young women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” she said. “She sets a goal and smashes it every single time.”