Article Image Alt Text

Eight Copperas Cove High School athletes sign letters of intent

Cove Leader-Press

“Only 7% of high school athletes are privileged enough to be able to continue on at the collegiate level,” said athletic director Cari Lowery. “We have eight athletes signing today that represent five sports. They’ll be going to five different universities in five different states, and we are very, very proud of each and every one of them.”

Eight talented individuals participated in a Collegiate Signing Celebration in the Copperas Cove High School gym on Tuesday, bringing the total number of CCHS seniors who signed letters of intent for this school year up to 25.

Nakeem Freeman signed with Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.

“One thing I’ll always remember about this young man is that he showed up every day on time. He was one of the last to leave…He was locked in and laser focused every time he was on the field,” said football coach Tony Johnson about Freeman.

Jalien Thomas signed with Peru State University in Nebraska.

“JT is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever been around and one of the most amazing human beings you’ll ever meet,” said Coach Johnson.

Gabriel Maxey also signed with Peru State University in Nebraska.

Devon Taitano signed with the University of Saint Mary in Kansas.

“Devon started out here as a center and is the strongest young man in our program from a physical standpoint,” said Coach Johnson. “He was a great center for us, but he had an injury that cost him his senior season—more than half the games.”

Despite his injury, Taitano was still invited to sign with several universities.

Taitano said that he chose USM because he loves their culture and family community. He said that he’s already been communicating back and forth with members of the football team.

“They saw something in me,” said Taitano who was grateful for the opportunity. “They just believed in me.”

For cross country, Angel Calderon signed with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Texas.

“Angel was a great, great student athlete of ours,” said Coach Travis Boyce. “He’s dedicated to everything he does…He’s going to do a lot of great things at this next level, academically and athletically.”

For cheerleading, Makayla Calhoun signed with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Texas.

“We are so excited to see her at the next level,” said Coach Chandler Diaz.

Calhoun said that she loved that UMHB is a smaller campus, and she likes their teaching program. She loves the way that they teach and hopes to use her degree to eventually become a first-grade teacher. She said that it felt amazing to be accepted into UMHB and looks forward to continuing with cheerleading.

“I like cheer because it gives me a bond with people,” said Calhoun.

For basketball, Shakaira Zeigler signed with Champion Christian College in Arkansas

“She’s very passionate,” said basketball coach, Derik Short about Zeigler. “She loves basketball, and I’m thrilled with the fact that she’s going to be continuing.”

For wrestling, Tristen Bigger signed with a Division 1 school—Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

“He’s been a trendsetter ever since he got here on the wrestling program,” said Coach Ryan Robbins. “He’s constantly getting better…he wants to make the whole program better.”

Tristen Bigger said that it felt really good to be accepted into a division 1 school. He said that he was ranked 4th in the state. He said that he had competed against several of the top-ranking competitors and was thrilled to have been accepted into Sacred Heart University.

“I love that they had the toughest schedule,” said Bigger about why he chose Sacred Heart University over other schools that were also available to him. “They wrestle against some of the top schools.”



Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207