Four more Van Alstyne senior athletes saved their families some bucks from the college educational fund by using their athletic prowess to gain scholarships and continue their educational pursuits.
Senior football player Alex Cole will be reporting to Southeastern Oklahoma State University in the fall, and after a red-shirt season to add weight, Cole will be playing linebacker for the Savage Storm. He was one of four VAHS students who made it official by inking those athletic scholarship forms on April 5.
The running back/linebacker has been an all-district selection in each of the past three seasons and was an All-Texomaland choice this year.
When asked what he felt his major contribution to his future team would be, Cole had a quick response.
“I think I bring a warrior mentality to the field,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed playing, and mixing it up is a great part of the sport.”
Van Alstyne Athletic Director and head football coach Mikeal Miller also weighed in on Cole’s strengths.
“Alex is a tough, durable athlete and he’s only going to get better.” Miller said. “He just needs to make up his mind that he wants to put in the work.”
Another Van Alstyne athlete headed for Durant will be volleyball standout Jessica Baker. The senior outside hitter spoke about the family atmosphere she experienced when visiting with the team.
“I got to spend a night with them, and was very impressed with how together they are, and how everyone seems to get along,” Baker said.
Lady Panther coach Miranda Sun talked about Baker’s leadership and growth she exhibited over the past two seasons.
“Her improvement in the mental aspect of the game from her junior year to this past year was very impressive,” Sun said. “If she continues to improve like that, she will be a real asset to the program.”
Baker plans to major in business management at Southeastern.
Sydney Sprowl is another Lady Panther volleyball player who will continue her career in that sport, playing for the Crusaders of Mary Hardin Baylor University in Belton.
One of the big challenges facing Sprowl is the possibility of changing positions on the court.
“I played middle blocker in high school, but I may have to move outside because the college game has bigger girls on the inside.” Sprowl said. “It’s going to be one thing I will work on this summer.”
Sprowl plans to major in nursing, though she is uncertain on what specialty in that field she will pursue.
Sun talked about Sprowl’s greatest asset, her always-positive attitude.
“Sydney never takes a play off, she has played varsity since her sophomore year and in games or practice, she is always ready to play,” Sun said.
Sprowl will take that positive attitude back to the court this summer as she plays with her select team, Nor-Tex out of Plano.
After competing successfully for the Lady Panthers in both basketball and track, Sierra Motley will take her athletic talents to South Plains College in Levelland, where she will participate in — rodeo.
Motley,who will major in nursing with aspirations of becoming a neo-natal nurse, has been involved with riding since she was three.
“My dad grew up on a ranch, and he got my sister and me into riding early, and we entered play-days then began to compete in rodeos,” explained Motley.
Motley has advanced to the Texas High School Rodeo finals all four years and will travel to Abilene in June to compete in the 2013 state finals. She is a breakaway roper and her biggest accomplishment to date was a fourth place finish at an event in Shawnee Okla., at the International Finals Youth Rodeo. She won the second go round in that event, which is the country’s largest youth rodeo.
The facilities at South Plains were a big factor in Motley’s decision to accept their offer.
“The have an arena on the campus and you can keep your horses there as well” Motley said.
In Motley’s case, as well as Cole, Baker and Sprowl, a tip of the hat is warranted for these accomplishments.
Congratulations, now go make us proud.