No two paths on the journey to signing a national letter of intent are the same.
Just consider the stories of District 38 senior student-athletes Lily Parmeter of Lewis-Palmer High School and Ashlee Sample, who attends Palmer Ridge High School.
Both smiled wide on the afternoon of April 17 at separate signing ceremonies held at their respective schools, but that’s where the similarities seemed to end.
Parmeter plays girls’ ice hockey, a sport that isn’t sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association. Instead of playing on campus against nearby schools, she instead spent five days a week driving back and forth to her Denver-based club squad for early-morning practices — which also took her to seven out-of-town tournaments — and balanced that with her academic workload.
And heading into her senior year, the Duluth, Minn., native wasn’t convinced that she was college hockey material. Then she looked inside of her soul and decided her lifelong love was too much to give up.
“I really wanted to play at the NCAA level, but at this time last year, I was pretty convinced I wasn’t going to play. This is something I’ve been doing so long and couldn’t imagine not playing after high school.”
Parmeter is headed to Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wis., a five-hour drive from her hometown.
“I’m really excited to be headed there,” she said. “My hometown is pretty close, so I’ll have a lot of family members that will be able to see me.”
Sample, on the other hand, had college golf on her mind since the day that she and her older sister by nearly two years, Kellsey, first picked up clubs as little girls.
“I couldn’t imagine not playing in college and taking it to the next level,” Sample said after signing to attend college and play golf at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.
While she didn’t face the immediate challenges of finding a team off campus, Sample still had to spend plenty of time on the course, away from the classroom, to hone her craft and put herself in position to earn a scholarship at the NCAA level.
Well, maybe there is one more thing the two have in common. Like Parmeter, Sample will attend college and play sports with family somewhat nearby.
“My oldest sister (Elle, a 2014 PRHS grad) just graduated from college and lives in New York City,” said Sample, who will reside about three hours north. “That was another factor that played in everything. It was crazy being up there. I finally made it.”
Both were among 14 D-38 seniors to be honored April 17.
At Lewis-Palmer, Parmeter was joined by Blake Allen (girls’ soccer to Notre Dame College); Noah Baca (boys’ basketball to UCCS); Bridget Cassidy (girls’ basketball to University of Saint Mary); Emily Coe (volleyball to Yavapai College); Konnor Kingsmore (football to Concordia Wisconsin); and Tre McCullough (boys’ basketball to Hesston College).
At Palmer Ridge, Sample celebrated alongside Kaitlyn Alton (volleyball to Bethel); Katie Doran (field hockey to Ohio Wesleyan); Emily Gentry (girls’ track and field to UCCS); Elysia Glowacz (volleyball to Central Wyoming College); Brandon Hippe (boys’ cross country to Portland State); and Ella Smith (girls’ soccer to Luther College).