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Athletes experience range of emotions during National Signing Day

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By Dan Johnson

Even after putting pen to paper, Columbine’s Kelsey Alsdorf had a difficult time coming to terms with what she had just done.

The Columbine senior was one of 31 local athletes to sign national letters of intent Feb. 6 as part of National Signing Day.

“I never thought it was actually going to happen,” Alsdorf said. “My heart is still pounding. It’s totally surreal, but a great feeling.”

Alsdorf, a key cog in the Rebels’ run to the semifinal round of the Class 5A girls softball state tournament, is headed to her dream destination: Kansas University.

“I’ve wanted to go to Kansas for forever,” Alsdorf said. “It’s nice to know that the process is finally over.”

Relief. Perfect fit. Good coaches and players. Those seemed to be the common themes and phrases that surfaced at all three area schools on Feb. 6.

For Dakota Ridge’s Alexa Rogers, the 5A girls state cross-country champion, National Signing Day offered a chance for reflection.

“It’s weird to think I’m almost done with high school,” said Rogers, who signed with Vanderbilt University. “I think about it every day. Everyone here at Dakota is amazing; it’s going to be hard to leave the school behind.”

While most of the athletes knew months in advance what school they were going to sign with, Breanna Williams’ decision came down to the wire.

“I just made my decision (Feb. 4),” said Williams, a Columbine senior who signed with the University of Northern Colorado, where she will play volleyball. “I got the call from the coach and they said they wanted to offer me a scholarship. It all happened rather quickly.”

Williams credits not only her time spent at Columbine, but the years of playing club-level volleyball for her being offered a college scholarship.

“In club, you travel to out-of-state tournaments and coaches flock to those tournaments,” said Williams, a first team All-State selection this past season. “It definitely helps get you noticed playing club in addition to high school.”

Tori Delmonico and the rest of the Chatfield Senior High School girls soccer players that signed on Feb. 6 (five in all) also credited their time playing club sports as being particularly helpful in drawing interest from various colleges.

Delmonico, currently rehabbing a knee injury she sustained in a club match back in the fall, wound up choosing Samford University due to what she said was a great campus atmosphere.

“It was a perfect fit for me,” said Delmonico, who expects to be ready for the start of the Chargers’ season in March. “The campus was a perfect size and everything just felt comfortable when I visited there.”

Dakota Ridge’s Eric Cain and Drew Phelan have known each other for about as long as they can remember.

“We’ve played on the same team all the way back to little league,” Cain said.

The duo will get the opportunity to play a few more years together on the same team, as the two Dakota Ridge senior baseball players inked letters of intent to attend Garden City Junior College in Kansas.

“We discussed it a little bit,” Phelan said. “We went down there together; met the coaches and did a workout. They offered both of us, so we said ‘why not?’ and both decided to sign.”

Both Phelan and Cain have aspirations beyond junior college ball, and Garden City provided the best opportunity for both to potentially advance to the next level two years from now.

“They preach to us that the main idea is to play a lot of baseball. And they have good ties with good Midwest Division I schools,” Phelan said. “And, you get a good education at the same time.”

National Signing Day signees

Dakota Ridge: Alexa Rogers, Vanderbilt University (cross-country/track and field); Eric Cain, Garden City Junior College (baseball); Drew Phelan, Garden City Junior College (baseball).

Chatfield: Michael Johnson, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (cross-country/track and field); Ashley Hibbs, Fort Lewis (softball); Tori Delmonico, Samford University (soccer); Christine Clark, Baylor University (soccer); Katie Martinez, University of Utah (soccer); Annabelle Allen, University of Nevada-Reno (soccer); Haley Marsh, Western Kentucky (soccer); Sarah Archuleta, Garden City Junior College (softball).

Columbine: Breanna Williams, University of Northern Colorado (volleyball); Kelsey Alsdorf, Kansas University (softball); Stephen George, Randolph College (lacrosse); Taryn Duncan, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (softball); Connor Holzkamp, Concordia College (baseball).