Trent Jones and Gerald Soto planned out how they’d sign letters of intent together as eighth-graders.
On Friday, the two best friends saw that dream become a reality as they were part of five Ellison athletes to sign letters of intent at a packed ceremony at Ellison gym.
Also signing were Kira Grenier, who will play volleyball at Huston-Tillotson, Angelo Rodriguez, who will play baseball at New England College, and Sam Weston, who will play baseball at the University of Texas at Dallas.
For each athlete, the experience was one they won’t soon forget.
“It feels good to sign in front of all these people,” Soto said, “being able to show on a piece of paper how hard I’ve worked all year.”
“Most amazing feeling of my life,” Grenier said, “because I’ve worked so hard ever since I was little.
“You can’t let anybody tell you (that) you can’t do it.”
Jones was the lone football player signing Friday as he will attend Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie.
“It’s a program that’s on the rise, and it gives me a good chance to go start there as a freshman,” Jones said. “And it gives me a good chance to get my relationship with God even closer.”
Soto was one of a trio of baseball players to sign and will attend Texas College in Tyler.
Grenier won’t be traveling far with Tillotson in nearby Austin.
“Being able to be close to home and close to family and friends is ideal for me,” Grenier said.
While Soto and Grenier will be close by, Rodriguez will travel the farthest of any of them by far, being the only athlete to go out of state.
Yet Rodriguez expects to still feel at home at New England College with family in the northeast.
“It’s a blessing,” Rodriguez said. “I’m glad that, even though I’m going far away, there’s still family that I can count on, family I can go to if I need anything. So it’s really a blessing to go out there and have family that’s there for me.”
Weston, meanwhile, felt he found the perfect home in the Metroplex at UT-Dallas.
“I like the program, I like the way all the coaches coach the players and I like the facilities as well,” Weston said.
Eagle baseball coach Ty Opperman said days like Friday are his favorite part of coaching.
And seeing the stands full of supporters for the five athletes was a special sight to see for the first-year coach.
“I’ve been doing signings for a long time. Usually they’re really small,” Opperman said. “To have a full crowd and be able to do that is just really cool. And it’s great for the kids to look up and see that people noticed the things that they were doing and appreciate it.”
And for the athletes who saw childhood dreams come true Friday, the feeling was mutual.
“It feels pretty awesome to have all this support from my friends and family and the student body of the school,” Jones said. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562â€‹