The first Wednesday of February has become steeped in tradition for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Known as National Signing Day, it is the first day that high school athletes can sign a letter of intent that commits them to play collegiate sports for an institution that is a member of the NCAA. Although the pomp and circumstance surrounding signing day is usually reserved for prospects that will be joining nationally-ranked Division I programs, three Laker seniors decided that they deserved a ceremony of their own to celebrate their athletic journeys to Division III schools. That celebration played out when they held a signing day this past Friday.

Riley Magoon is one of those rare high schoolers that seems to know exactly what she wants to do after she graduates college and enters the workforce. While her love of softball was a driving factor when she began looking at universities and colleges, it was the offer of a kinesiology major that helped tip the scales in DePauw University’s favor. “I love helping people,” Magoon says brightly, “and I can’t wait to get into occupational therapy.” Magoon verbally committed to Depauw in November of 2016 after visiting the Indiana campus multiple times. A successful pitcher, Magoon spent her summers throughout high school playing on club teams that travelled the region, including the Vermont Storm, and gathered accolades from the local press along the way. Lakers’ varsity coach Courtney Boetsma attributed Magoon’s success to her drive. “She is very driven with demanding goals of herself” said Boetsma. “She is absolutely driven,” agreed Storm Coach Nick Goodreau, “I took her out of one game when she was 14 and really getting shelled. Since then she has played an age level up every year.”

Brayden Wilkins has been playing lacrosse since he was three years old, and by the time he was a freshman he knew his goal was to be playing for a Division III school after he graduated. Wilkins also credits his hard work travelling with club teams in the summers as the reason he was able to sign with Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. “You have to get your name out there.” Wilkins adds, “And the best piece of advice I can give is to shake the hands of the coaches you meet and let them know you are grateful.” Wilkins said that several schools caught his eye, but it was the engineering program at Clarkson that eventually gave it the edge.

Michael Spillane was unable to attend the signing that the three students had set up, but he will also be playing lacrosse, taking his talents to the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.

All three students still have their senior spring seasons to play, which means that you still have one more season to go out and support these stellar athletes before they hang up their Laker colors and don new uniforms symbolic of the rewards that come with hard work and perseverance