Sixteen seniors are leaving behind what might be one of the best legacies in Churchill County High School’s years of athletics.
CCHS celebrated 2016’s Signing Day in the main gym where Athletic Director Brad Daum, parents and coaches all gathered to celebrate the Greenwave varsity athletes who will be playing at the next level upon graduating this spring.
The 2015-16 season marked both ups and downs for Fallon teams with the first Greenwave football victory since 1978 and the Wave wrestling team’s first ever title victory. Despite the dual upset of the Lady Wave volleyball and basketball teams in regionals, the Wave and Lady Wave baseball/softball teams, respectively, are both on the line to defend a state title, though the members of both have already made impressive strides including Megan McCormick’s new CCHS softball home run record.
Daum, referring to students being honored, said this group is probably the biggest the school has ever had, not in scholarship athletes but at least in athletes who will go on and commit to the high level.
“Most of these kids have broken some sort of team record,” Daum said with pride. “We had a home run record by McCormick, the passing record by Connor Richardson and Tristen Thomson broke the 800-meter school record which stood since 1968. If he hadn’t a stress fractured his foot, he probably would have broken the mile record for the school. They’re all good kids, all leaders in the classroom, so I’m proud of each and every one of them and excited to see what they can do at the next level.”
Thomson will be attending Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., running cross country, track and field for Eagles coach Danny Bowma on scholarship.
Richardson, the state championship quarterback from the Greenwave varsity football team, has already signed with the College of Idaho to play football in the Frontier Conference on a near-full scholarship between athletic and academic. As the most valuable player of the state division, Richardson said it’s sad to be moving on, but he is excited to start the next chapter of his life and grateful to play football at the next level.
“I’ve been with these guys forever,” he said. “We’re just brothers who would do anything for each other. We all grew up together, and it’s been a really great experience to get to know each other as well as we do. Just to go out and compete together has been great.”
Also from the Wave football team at the ceremony were Wyatt Hampton, Evan Bitter, Kaleel Rickerson, Johnny Mayo, Michael Porras and Preston Monahan.
Hampton, who was also on the state champion Wave wrestling team, earned an NAIA athletic scholarship to play football at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan.
“It’s exciting,” Hampton said about leaving CCHS after two state championships. “It feels like yesterday I was just a freshman here and we were all just figuring ourselves out and now it’s senior year and we’re done. I’m definitely hoping everybody behind us carries the dynasty forward and keeps winning. That’s always part of it, but it’s just awesome to know I’m going to play football somewhere else.”
Bitter will join Rickerson and Wave volleyball’s Kyla Kincaid at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., where he and Rickerson will play football for the Golden Eagles under coach Tom Simi, and Kincaid will play volleyball under coach Sarah Ritchie.
Both Mayo and Porras will be suiting up for Yuba Junior College in Marysville, Calif. to play football for the 49ers under coach Ted Hoal. Monahan will walk on to the football team at Shasta Community College. Sam Goings represented this year’s state championship Wave wrestling team at the table and will be wrestling at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., on an NAIA Athletic Scholarship under Eagles coach KC Rock.
Also representing the Lady Wave volleyball team was Miranda Ford, who, despite a life-threatening automobile accident last fall, made a complete recovery and will be playing volleyball at Simpson University in Redding, Calif., under coach Thomas Kirst.
Ford, joining Simpson’s volleyball squad at libero and planning to walk on to the softball team, said it is as bittersweet to be leaving her school behind as it is exciting.
“I’m excited to start a new chapter, but I’ve been playing with these people since sixth grade and grew up with all the same athletes,” Ford said. “But it’s exciting to watch everybody go.”
Ford was joined by two teammates on the Lady Wave softball team, McCormick and Isabella Thomas ,who will both be playing softball at the next level. McCormick has already committed to Carroll College in Helena, Mont., with an NAIA Athletic Scholarship under Fighting Saints coach Aaron Jackson to play for her mother and father’s alma matter, while Thomas joins Hampton in Kansas City on an NAIA Athletic Scholarship as an outfielder for Kansas Wesleyan University under Coyotes coach Darly Hoelti.
“It feels so great,” Thomas said. “I’m going far which is what I wanted though I’m kind of nervous because we (Thompson and I) are going to twister city. But I’m excited. Plus Wyatt is going to be 20 minutes away from me, so if I need a friend, he’s the guy to call.”
It’s a well known hope in the athletic department that Thomas, Ford and McCormick will make good on their chance to three-peat this season with Lady Wave softball’s shot at a third state championship title, which would also mark McCormick’s fourth appearance at the state title game for softball as Daum said.
Still, win or lose, McCormick said she still knows Carroll is the best place for her ... 100 percent.
“I don’t regret my decision at all,” McCormick said, joining Carroll’s softball team as a third basemen. “I’m just excited to get the opportunity to play and go up north and have a good time.”
From the Wave baseball team, Kendall Johnson has committed to pitching for Williston State College in Williston, N.D., under Tetons coach Shawn Coty.
Macy Meyers represented the Lady Wave soccer team and will be attending Sierra Nevada College at Incline on an NAIA Athletic Scholarship to play soccer under Eagles coach Christian DeLong.
Jes Tews rounds out the 16 on an NAIA Scholarship for rodeo. Tews is headed to the University of Montana Western in Dillon where he plans to compete in his specialty even, team-roping. With college around the corner, Tews said it feels awesome to have a fresh start.
“Skills wise I felt myself grow more dedicated to practice as I got older,” Tews said on how he felt the rodeo team shaped him since he joined as a freshman. “Yeah, that dedication was what really stuck with me.”