Seventeen local athletes sign to compete at the collegiate level

By: Shelby Olive
| Published 11/11/2015


THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Several Oak Ridge and College Park students took an exciting step in their athletic careers as they signed letters of intent to play at their respective colleges and universities.

You can watch the highlights from the ceremonies here.

Among the signees were volleyball players Kennedi Smith and Hannah Erwin from College Park, who recently saw the end of their season. Head coach Candice Collins, who has known the girls since they were children, fought back tears as she talked about how proud she was of them.

“It’s such mixed emotions. It’s excitement for them because of the future, but you know it’s hard to see your season come to an end and everything that comes along with that, and it’s hard to see them go,” Collins said. “We’ve had them for four years. They’ve been huge contributors to our program, and it’s just a wide range of emotions.”

Unlike the fall sports, which are now drawing to a close, winter and spring athletics are just getting started. While the athletes are excited for the things that are to come, they still have to keep their eyes on their approaching sports seasons and know that their job is not yet complete.

“Off season is an art of encouragement and motivation,” Oak Ridge track coach Kristina Dube said. “What we do is throughout the off season is we’ll do a bunch of time trials, conditioning, lifting, but a day like today helps tremendously. We’ll do some things at Thanksgiving. We go wrap presents at the police station in Conroe. At Christmas we try to do a lot of community service so that we keep them united and focused on what’s really important.”

Dube started a tradition of wearing all of her signees’ new team shirts simultaneously during the ceremony last year when she saw several of her athletes sign to play at the collegiate level. She did the same thing this year as four of her students signed, saying it was not common to have multiple kids sign in one year, and wearing all of their shirts at the same time was a fun way to reveal which schools her kids were going to. Dube compared her pride for her athletes with winning the state meet.

“It sounds silly, but it isn’t to a coach because this means that we’ve not only prepared our kids athletically, but also mentally and physically, and to be able to send them off as a parent is a neat feeling,” Dube said. “It’s been a proud year already.”

These are the following athletes who signed on November 11, 2015:

From The Woodlands College Park High School

Claire Andrews, Diving, University of Notre Dame

Emma Dellmore, Diving, University of Kentucky

Hannah Erwin, Volleyball, University of Denver

Julie French, Softball, Temple College

Jordan Green, Softball, Mount Mary University

Kennedi Smith, Volleyball, University of New Hampshire

Aric Wilson, Baseball, Abilene Christian University

From Oak Ridge High School

Addison Moss, Baseball, Rice University

Tyler Hicks, Baseball, Naval Academy

Tori Valka, Cross Country, University of North Texas

Baylee Lara, Track, Sam Houston State University

Taylor McKinney, Track, Texas A&M Kingsville

Casey Ponton, Diving, University of Arizona

Amanda Cunniff, Softball, Houston Baptist University

Alicia Hill, Softball, Alcorn State University

Jenni Ramirez, Track, University of Houston

Rebecca Foster, Softball, Wisconsin Lutheran

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