All things EHS all the time

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All things EHS all the time

EHS-hub

All things EHS all the time

EHS-hub

Wonder women

Inside the historic signing day for 2024 female athletes
Fall Signing Day 2023 signees prepare to officially sign to play at the higher level, Nov. 20, 2023.

The Class of 2024 has a chance to be historic for Eureka High School. On Nov. 8, at the Fall Signing Day ceremony, 18 athletes, with 15 of them female, all signed their National Letter of Intent to play at the next level. This feat, however, is much more than signing a piece of
paper. These athletes all made many sacrifices throughout their lives in hopes of achieving their dreams of playing collegiate sports.

The recruiting process is not a ‘one-size fits all’ situation either, with athletes opting for schools both close and far away from home. University of Missouri commit Callaway Combs decided on Columbia because of the close proximity to family and the opportunity to play in the Southeastern Conference.

“I ended up choosing Mizzou pretty easily after getting to know my options because ultimately I wanted to stay close to home so that my family, who are my biggest supporters, could come and watch me play, while also playing in arguably the best conference in college sports, the SEC,” Combs said.

Someone who has opted to further her collegiate career farther away from home is University of Washington commit Sophia Mazzola. Despite being 2,073 miles away from Eureka, Mazzola decided on Washington due to the coaching staff, campus, and the ability to focus on getting her degree while playing softball at the next level.

“While choosing a school, my biggest factor was the softball program (coaching staff, and the team as a whole) and the school itself (campus, student-athlete life, etc.)” Mazzola said. “I knew that the college I wanted to go to would have a family feel to the softball program and a nice student life for the athletes. Washington’s campus is absolutely beautiful and the athletic atmosphere is perfect. At UW, student-athletes are able to balance their sports and academics easily. Washington has arguably the best softball coaching staff in the country.”

Family ties also play a massive role in recruiting, as Emma Parker decided to follow her family legacy and play soccer at the University of Arkansas, where both of her parents attended. Parker had options to attend other schools, but after visiting Arkansas, she knew that was the place she could call home.

“I committed to Arkansas because it feels like home,” Parker said. “I grew up a Razorback fan because both of my parents went there, and I am also quite familiar with the campus since my family goes to a couple of football games every season. I love the coaching staff and the players. The environment they have created is amazing and I don’t think I can see myself anywhere else.”

Sophia Gagnepain, who is committed to Dartmouth College for volleyball is able to get the best of both worlds to play Division 1 volleyball while receiving a world-class Ivy League education.

“When I went on my official visit, I immediately knew that Dartmouth was where I wanted to be,” Gagnepain said. “It felt like home on campus and not only is the volleyball team super competitive being D1, but it just overall had everything I wanted in a program. All of the people I met there were amazing as well, and I knew that this amazing opportunity to attend an Ivy League school would allow me to reach all my goals career-wise in the future too.”

Despite having numerous options, Olivia Hasbrook decided on Ohio State University to continue her volleyball career, just six days after being allowed to officially talk with NCAA coaches.

“I committed to Ohio State University because after going to a bunch of different schools, no school gave me the same feeling as Ohio State,” Hasbrook said. “I loved all of the players, commits, and especially all of my coaches. The academics are top tier and so are the athletic facilities and opportunities and the Big 10 is one of the best conferences in the country.”

During the recruiting process, Bailey Boulay faced the tough decision of deciding on basketball or lacrosse as the sport to play in college. She had opportunities to play both sports at the next level but decided to continue her athletic and academic career at Maryville University for lacrosse.

“I was between a school for basketball and then Maryville for lacrosse,” Boulay said. “My plan my whole life was to play basketball and I never really considered lacrosse in college until last year, so it was really difficult letting go of something that had been my whole life for so long. At the end of the day, I just loved Maryville, the campus, the coaches, the team, and how close to home it is.”

As the motto says, It Just Means More. This rings true especially for Eureka athletes, with three signing for SEC schools. The previously mentioned Combs and Parker are heading to Columbia and Fayetteville respectively. The third is taking her talents to Tuscaloosa, with
Maison Smith committed to play soccer at the University of Alabama.

“I chose to go to Alabama because of how well they have done recently in the SEC and nationally as well as how much I believe in the future of the program because of the great coaching staff. It is my goal to play professional soccer and I believe playing there will help me get there. When I went to Tuscaloosa, I loved the big school environment and felt it was a place I could be challenged on and off the field,” Smith said.

If there was another determining factor about the prowess of this historic class, Eureka has athletes from six different sports signing to play collegiately, not even including football or basketball. With these signees, the main picture becomes clear, the class of 2024 will go down in school history as one of the most athletic classes of all time.

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About the Contributor
Sam Garner, Sports Editor

Sam Garner, News Production

Grade: 11 Years on Staff: 2 Hobbies: Golfing, traveling, fishing, hanging out with friends and family What was your favorite childhood TV show? The Suite Life What is your favorite book?  Saban: Making of a Coach Favorite Quote: "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard." Favorite Hot Take: Thanksgiving food is overrated Fun Fact: My mom teaches at Eureka What motivates you?  Making myself and my family proud
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