February 6, 2013 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:26 am
They were kicking up their heels at The Classical Academy on Wednesday.
Twelve student-athletes signed national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level, a remarkable number from a class 3A school. But there's another kicker to this story.
Seven of those were from the girls' soccer program and one was from the boys' team. Of the three football players, Daniel Carlson signed to be a placekicker at Auburn, while Joshua Gerstenberg will be punting at Division II Chadron State.
That doesn't leave out the other two. Megan Brunette, who will be running track and cross country at Division I Wyoming, has a strong closing kick. Justin Miller, a linebacker who's headed to Gardner-Webb (D-I, FCS), well, he kicks rear.
Kind of a theme, isn't it?
In order to achieve all that kicking, TCA has relied on continuity.
“There are kids here that have played for TCA since seventh grade; that's one of the best things about a K-12 school,” athletic director Gary Geiger said. “We can see them transition and grow and train them, and when they come out to the high school program, they can really excel.”
The girls' soccer program is a great example of that. Joanie Jacks signed with D-I Long Island-Brooklyn while Caitlyn Troupe, Meghan Troupe and Sarah Turner are all headed to D-II Colorado Christian. Claire LaValley (Taylor), Kierra Mattingly (Oklahoma Baptist) and Chrissy Lind (Concordia-Nebraska) are all going to NAIA schools. Lind wasn't at Wednesday's ceremony, but coach Blake Galvin confirmed that she would be signing.
From the boys' team, Evan Young will take his state-record 100 career goals to NAIA Indiana Wesleyan.
“It's crazy that we're all signing,” Mattingly said. “But we've worked so hard from day one. We were determined to be the best players, the best team, that we could be.
“We all work for each other. There's no selfish motives in how we play.”
That unselfishness is a key. It permeates the athletic programs at TCA.
“There's a real closeness with our coaches and our athletes,” Geiger said. “We typically are able to keep the focus, keep the parents involved, keep the kids involved in the summer camps and the open gyms so they just get better."