The heavy snow might have pulled the plug on National Signing Day ceremonies across Northeast Ohio, but it wasn’t able to eliminate the excitement for the area’s athletes who still sent out their letters of intent.
“I still signed the paper and sent it off to make it official,” Midview’s Cody Callaway said. “It’s definitely a relief because it was an extremely long process. A lot of travel, a lot of time … but I feel I made a good choice with BG.”
Callaway signed on to be a quarterback at Bowling Green, but recently found out he’ll also be playing baseball for the Falcons.
“It should be fun trying to play both sports,” he said. “Now that (the recruitment) is over, I’m going to try and enjoy my final (high school) baseball season as much as I can, and I still plan on working out and throwing the football throughout the season.”
Not everyone had to scramble to find a fax machine — a parent’s workplace topped the list of where athletes sent their letters. Avon Lake was one of the few area schools that didn’t close due to the weather, and five athletes were able to enjoy an official signing ceremony.
Three Shoremen football players will be in Division I programs in the fall — Ben Oxley is headed to Northwestern, Kyle Kuhar signed with Ohio University and Collin Lucas will be a preferred walk-on at Michigan State.
“Those guys are my best friends — no matter where they went, we all want the best for each other,” Oxley said.
Oxley called the recruiting process strenuous, and said academics played heavily into his decision to join the Wildcats.
“That was a huge factor, probably the No. 1 factor,” he said. “From the start of this process I always wanted to go to a place with great academics that would offer me a great opportunity — not just for the next four to five years, but for the next 40 to 50 years.
“Northwestern’s reputation speaks for itself.”
The three are just the latest in a long line of players from the program that have gone on to play college football. Playing on the next level has become just another part of Avon Lake’s tradition.
“We’re very hard workers and we are strong — we get after it in the weight room,” Kuhar said. “I don’t think you can find any place that works harder in the weight room than us, so I think that says a lot about the program.”
Elyria High continued its streak of sending linemen to Division I programs. Offensive lineman Darius Badford decided Saturday night to sign with Toledo, making it five straight years.
“It was good to keep the tradition going, and I believe we’ll have a sixth guy next year,” Badford said. “I attribute that to the great coaches we have, especially our offensive line coach, Coach (Steve) Hamilton.”
Badford said the Rockets were an easy pick after he took his visit and fell in love with the campus.
“It felt like home,” he said. “The program is like a family.”
The same thing happened to Amherst’s Sher Champe — twice.
The Comets track star visited the University of Cincinnati and was floored. Then she got a Facebook message from the University of Iowa’s coach.
“I was like, ‘This is Iowa, the Big Ten, wow,’” she said. “I sprinted downstairs and told my mom and we just started screaming. We were so excited.”
After the visit to Iowa City, it took Champe about a week to make the agonizing decision.
“It was the hardest week of my life,” she said. “I wrote down the pros and cons of both schools and I sat and looked at that list over and over all day. I was losing sleep looking at that list. It was so stressful.
“But in the end I just loved the way Iowa felt. The campus had a homey feeling … it was a lot like Amherst.”
Amherst — Olivia Morales, Notre Dame College, soccer; Kylie Haslage, Ursuline College, soccer; Julie Lacock, Ashland University, soccer; Sher Champe, University of Iowa, track.
Avon — Walter Rauterkus, West Virginia, football; Kevin Maloney, University of Dayton, football; Shaun Traine, Walsh University, football; Vince Orlando, Ohio Dominion University, football; Alex Habeeb, Case Western Reserve University, football; Mallory Deel, Walsh University, soccer; Annie DeLuca, Covenant College (Ga.), tennis.
Avon Lake — Ben Oxley, Northwestern University, football; Kyle Kuhar, Ohio University, football; Max Seipel, Ohio State University, track; Maddie McQuiston, Ashland University swimming; Collin Lucas, Michigan State, football.
Brookside — Arin Pruitt, Walsh University, football.
Columbia — Tyler Edmisten, Notre Dame College, football.
Elyria — Darius Badford, University of Toledo, football; Connor Kamczyc, Marist College, football; Tavon Kurtz, Lindenwood University, football.
Elyria Catholic — Dakota Tallman, Eastern Michigan University, football; McKenzie Rozanc, California University of Pennsylvania, soccer; Michael Saddler, Walsh University, soccer.
Keystone — Jenna Quillen, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, track; Jared Adams, Ashland University, swimming.
Magnificat — Jaycie Brown/Wellington, University of Cincinnati, soccer; Natalie Courey/Westlake, University of Cincinnati, soccer.
Midview — Cody Callaway, Bowling Green State University, football; Devon Crum, Ashland University, football; Jeff Ondo, Grand Valley State University, track; Kaysy Heyde, Notre Dame College, soccer.
North Olmsted — Bradley Novak, Mercyhurst University, football; Jeff Rotheram, Youngstown State University, football.
St. Edward — Jake Pruehs/North Olmsted, Ohio University, football; Tyler King/Lorain, Bowling Green State University, football; Jake Jones/Columbia Station, Baldwin Wallace University, baseball; Danny McManamon/Westlake, University of Dayton, football; Joey Krecic/Columbia Station, Cleveland State University, golf; Jackson Kirby/Olmsted Township, Mercyhurst University, football; Peter Gilles/North Ridgeville, Wheeling Jesuit University, cross country/track; Gage Blair/Elyria, Case Western Reserve University, football.
Vermilion — Forrest Boyd, University of Findlay, football; Kyle Shreves, University of Findlay, football.
Westlake — Alexis Carpenter, Miami University, soccer; Grace Jenkins, The Citadel, cross country.