MISSOULA - Both Missoula Sentinel High School and Loyola Sacred Heart celebrated student-athletes with a signing day on Wednesday afternoon.
Sentinel recognized 13 student-athletes who are heading to the next level while Loyola held a signing day ceremony for four athletes. Athletes signed for sports ranging from football, baseball, volleyball, softball swimming, lacrosse and track and field.
Some students will stay in Missoula and around Montana, while others are bound for other states including Washington, Idaho, Massachusetts, Colorado, Illinois and North Dakota.
It was a special day for the Sentinel seniors who signed, including Nolan McCaffery, who spent his entire junior year of baseball injured, but is back healthy and ready to compete at the University of Jamestown after this year in North Dakota.
"It means a lot because, you know, I had that feeling of I won't get the chance to do it because I missed a whole, really important year," McCaffery said. "Them believing in me and not focusing on my past but my future and that was just really big for me."
"It's kind of been a natural (fit), like volleyball's always been a passion because it's always been an outlet and it's always been there just to get better," added Quincy Frohlich, who signed to play volleyball at North Idaho College. "You can't be the best at all times so it's nice to always have something to strive for because there's always people better than you."
Three athletes signed to compete in track and field, including Cooper Kress (University of Providence), Jerrick Woods (Montana Tech) and Joe Cecacci (Carroll College). Three more signed to play softball in Kodi Fraser (Columbia Basin College in Washington), Amy Taylor (Olympic College in Washington), and Cassidy Schweitzer (Columbia Basin College in Washington). Drew Klumph (Montana) and Chase Williams (MIT) signed for football, while Jackson Moe (Colorado Mesa) signed for swimming. Aven Nurse (Knox College in Illinois) signed for baseball while Madigan Stewart (Fort Lewis College in Colorado) signed for lacrosse.
Meanwhile over at Loyola Sacred Heart High School, Kaden Matheny signed to play golf at Carroll College, Evelyn Demblans-Dechans signed to play tennis at Saint Mary's College in Indiana, Kennedy McCorkle signed to play basketball at Spokane Falls Community College, and Ridger Palma will compete in track and field at Grand Canyon University in Arizona.
"I'm really excited, it's cool to see some of my friends sign, and obviously me sign, I'm pretty excited but it just shows that our hard work is getting there," Palma said. "I'm really, really excited. I've loved track since I was little and I've always wanted to run it in college. It's a dream come true."