From the NCAA Division I level to junior college level, from some well-established teams to emerging teams, a dozen Newton High School athletes gathered Wednesday to sign National Letters of Intent or make final commitments to colleges.
Three Newton athletes signed with NCAA Division I programs, while two made final commitments to service academies (which don’t participate in the NLI program because they don’t award scholarships).
Aidan Mills and Brookelynn Entz both signed to play at Kansas State in football and women’s soccer respectively. Megan Akers signed to compete in the rowing program at the University of Kansas.
Kade Remsberg committed to football at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, while Logan Treaster committed to wrestle at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Other signings include Anthony Velasco, who signed to play soccer at Bethel; Caden Runyun, who signed to play soccer at Bethel; Emily Regier, who signed to play volleyball at Pittsburg State; Kailey Harris, who signed to play volleyball at Barton Community College; Dawsyn Long, who signed to play softball at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College; Celina Perez, who signed to play softball at Kansas City (Kan.) Community College; and Jordan Singh, who signed to play tennis at Bethel.
Akers played basketball, soccer and volleyball for the Railers, but will switch to a new sport for her when she arrives on the Kansas.
“I was getting offers (in other sports), but I really wanted to go to the University of Kansas,” Akers said. “I got a letter from K-State, so I thought maybe I could go to KU and do this. I filled out a recruitment form on their Web site. I got an e-mail back from their coach. He e-mailed me back. I went on an official visit. They made me an offer and I signed.”
Women’s college rowing competition includes first and second varsity eights, first and second varsity fours and first and second novice eights. First races are awarded the highest points, followed by the seconds.
It is not unusual for college rowers to enter as freshmen, since there are few high schools that offer the sport. Some areas have club programs.
“I’ve never rowed before,” Akers said. “They told me not to. ‘We want to teach you the right technique,’ they said. They told me to keep lifting. I will probably get more this summer, when it gets closer, but they told me to keep in shape.”
She watched the team’s opener, the Jayhawk Jamboree, in the fall.
“I could see myself doing this,” she said.
Mills and Remsberg are the 17th and 18th football players to sign with Division I schools since 1992.
Mills had 51 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and an interception as a senior. He was a first-team All-AV-CTL I pick and a honorable mention all-state pick in one publication.
“Every time I went up there, they have always sold me on family,” Mills said. “All the games I’ve been to there, the crowd and the atmosphere is awesome.”
Mills picked Kansas State over Wyoming, South Dakota and Emporia State.
He expects to be an offensive lineman.
“I’ll be an offensive tackle,” Mills said. “I don’t know if I’ll be left or right, but I’ll know more at summer camp. My goal is to gain weight, get stronger and work with the upper classmen so I can improve.”
Remsberg rushed for 1,292 yards with 11 touchdowns last season.
“I just want to thank everybody, all my friends and teammates for believing in me,” said Remsberg, the third NHS football player to commit to a service academy since 1992. “It means a lot to know that the guns on my back. My family, you have always supported me through everything. Since I was a little kid, you have made me believe that I can be something great. That’s really helped me be the best I can be.”
Remsberg was a state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as a sophomore in track. He is an all-state selection.
“Both these young men worked their butts off academically and I think their schools recognized that,” Newton football coach Chris Jaax said.
Selection to a service academy requires high grades and test scores as well as passing a physical. A congressional recommendation also is required.
Logan Treaster is the second wrestler in the last few years to sign with a Division I program. He was a state champion as a sophomore and a runner-up as a junior.
“I am very honored to be have the opportunity to go to the United States Naval Academy and serve in the military,” Treaster said. “It’s an honor to attend there. I want to thank all my coaches, especially my dad - both my parents. I know they had a few reservations about letting me serve in the military. I’m glad they let me choose that career choice.”
Entz is an all-state selection and has been among the leading scorers in the state in the past couple of seasons. She is the second Division I signee in Newton girls’ soccer history.
She also joins a K-State program in its second season. The Wildcats played as an independent this season, finishing 4-9-3. K-State will play a full Big 12 schedule this fall. The conference had several teams go deep in the NCAA tournament last season.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Entz said. “We’re going to be surprising a lot of people. I don’t think they think we’ll do to good — a young, inexperienced program.”
Entz is expected to be an attacking center midfielder.
“Hopefully I can get in and make an impact on the team,” Entz said. “I try to do the best when I get there.”
“She’s the most talented girl I’ve had,” Newton coach Adam Jantzi said. “He hard work has really paid off. She is very determined. We’re looking forward to this season. We have a lot of good players coming back.”
Other commitments announced Wednesday, but not signing were soccer player Bekah Tonn, who committed to NCAA Division II Southern Nazarene; and basketball player Abby Schmidt, who committed to Bethel.