The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Taking it to the next level

Seven seniors commit to play sports in college
Senior Maycee Hays signs her letter of intent to play softball at College of Saint Mary and pursue a nursing degree. Hays was the first to sign out of the athletes in her class, which was in November. (Courtesy photo)

A little over 7 percent of high school athletes go on to play sports in college. Like usual, Yutan is above average, with 7 of 38, or 18 percent, of our seniors committed to playing sports in college.

Some of these athletes knew right away that they would play sports in college, like senior Maycee Hays, who will be continuing her softball career at College of Saint Mary.

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to play softball in college. It’s just always been a dream of mine, and I just knew that someday I wanted to get to that point,” Hays said.

Along with Hays, senior Derek Wacker was interested in playing football from the beginning. Wacker is committed to play football at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

“I kind of grew up around sports, and I knew that I didn’t want to be done with sports after high school,” Wacker said.

As he finishes signing his letter to continue playing golf at Hastings College, senior Connor North and his family pose for a picture. Aside from playing golf, North hopes to become a pharmacist in his future. (Courtesy photo)

However, this wasn’t an automatic decision for everyone. Senior Maura Tichota just decided this year that she will be playing basketball at the College of Saint Mary.

“Actually, I didn’t want to go to sports in college. If I’m being honest, from all the way up into senior year,” Tichota said. “Then, the coach actually reached out to me, and I loved the coach and I met the girls and it really made me excited to play with them. So that’s why I joined. It was a very last minute thing, and I was gonna give it a shot.”

The decision to play wasn’t the only decision these seniors had to make. They also needed to decide where to continue that sports career. Senior Joey Benjamin chose to play football at Wayne State College because of the chance he got with sports and academics.

“It’s an amazing school. They gave me a great opportunity with the football and academics combined,” Benjamin said. “I just love the facilities, and I love the coaches. They were so inviting and nice to me.”

Wacker was attracted not just by the facilities but the environment at UNL.

Alongside his family, senior Cole Smith smiles for the picture after signing to play football at Morningside University. While playing football, Smith plans to study business. (Courtesy photo)

“I’m excited about the culture that Nebraska has. It’s something I grew up around, so I’m used to it,” Wacker said. “I know exactly what it is, and it’s amazing. It’s a very energetic and supportive atmosphere.”

Even though the decisions have now been made, the real work begins, as playing at the college level will not be without challenges.

“Challenges that I was worried about would be having so much to do with sports that I wouldn’t be giving up time to study and make sure my grades are where I want them,” Benjamin said.

Luckily, the colleges have assured these athletes that they have academic support.

“[The coach] said that they have designated times where they have their athletes study, and I will obviously take advantage of the times that they have me study,” said senior Cole Smith, who is committed to play football at Morningside University.

With his parents at his side, senior Caleb Daniell signs to continue his football career at Doane University as a Tiger. Daniell plans to study business. (Courtesy photo)

Even though there are a variety of challenges, there are also many things to look forward to. 

“I’m excited to make some friends. That’s one of the main reasons why I decided to play in college because it’s easy to make a friend group if you’re already involved in something,” Tichota said.

Hays is also looking forward to bonding with her new teammates.

“I’m just definitely excited about the team that I’ll be playing with. I’ve got the chance to meet a ton of the girls and get to know the coaches really well,” Hays said. “They just seem like they’ve got a really good environment and a good team there at St. Mary’s, so I’m just really excited about that family aspect of the game.”

Above all, these students are most excited to continue their sport.

“I am excited to be able to get time to learn plays, get stronger and have more time to play football,” Wacker said.

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About the Contributor
Emmy Tederman
Emmy Tederman, Freshman writer
Emmy is a freshman and in her first year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures.  Outside journalism, Emmy is involved in volleyball, cheer, basketball and track.
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