COPPERAS COVE — Billy Hatten and Karim Sarhani decided to continue being teammates at the next level.
After playing defense together for the Bulldawgs throughout high school, the friends committed to play football at West Virginia Wesleyan College in a ceremony Tuesday morning at the Copperas Cove High gymnasium. Each admitted their decision was partially based on the other attending.
“That was a (major) factor,” lineman Hatten said. “There is no family up there, so having a friend up there will boost me and help me push myself. We can feed on each other’s success.”
The pair recently made a 1,300-mile trek to Buckhannon, W.V., to visit the Division II campus, and, like Hatten, Sarhani, feels having a longtime confidant alongside is a huge benefit.
“That is a biggie because that is a long way,” the linebacker said. “I’m going to have somebody that has always been close to me, who I’ve played ball with all four years, so that is good.”
Five other Copperas Cove athletes accompanied the tandem during the joint singing, including a pair of their teammates.
Right tackle Tyler Agnello was the lone player to commit to a Division I program, inking a letter to Texas State, while offensive lineman Israel Hamm signed to play for Cabrillo College in California.
“(It is a relief) knowing that I’m able to move on to the next level and continue what I love to do,” Agnello said.
Agnello was attracted to Texas State because of its Central Texas location and the community’s comfortable atmosphere. Despite moving to the West Coast, Hamm feels he will be equally content in his new surroundings.
“It is a new environment, but the coaches loved me there,” Hamm said. “The coaches treat me the same way down there as they do here. So, I’m ready to go.”
Coming off the program’s first undefeated run to a district championship, two Lady Bulldawgs volleyball players also signed letters of intent. Setter Arielle Garcia committed to Panola College, and outside hitter Carlie Tuiasosopo signed to play at Odessa College. For Garcia, she was instantly charmed.
“The second day after tryouts, they contacted me and told me they were really excited,” she said. “That made me want to commit to them, right then.”
Tuiasosopo landed on the District 8-5A first team following her senior season, and she is hoping for similar success both on and off the court.
“I feel like I am going experience my high school experience (all over again) but at a higher level,” she said. “It is going to be beneficial to me and my volleyball career, and I feel like it is going to help me grow into a better person.”
After being home-schooled until her freshman year, Lady Bulldawgs midfielder Cheyenne Huereque committed to play for Division III Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minn.
“I’ve changed so much,” Huereque said, “and soccer has helped me so much with that. It is such a blessing to have that in my life, along with my teammates and everything (the sport) has offered me.”