SALADO — In front of a large crowd filled with her with family and friends, Salado senior Ashlen LaCanne signed on Friday her national letter of intent to play for Lubbock Christian University.
After committing to the NCAA Division II program over a year ago, the day for her to “sign my life away” couldn’t have come any sooner.
“I committed December of my junior year,” she said. “It’s been awhile waiting for this and I’m excited about it.”
LaCanne’s mother, Kim, knew what this day meant for her youngest child as she started tearing up thinking about her daughter’s journey to reaching her dream.
“She’s a determined young lady,” Kim said, “and she always has been, so I knew once she made up her mind she was going to go for it.”
For LaCanne, she had options in Oklahoma and even possibly staying close to home at Mary Hardin-Baylor, but chose to go a little further away from home.
“She’s always wanted to spread her wings,” Kim said as she recalled the list they made together when LaCanne first started looking at college programs before starting the recruiting process.
While LaCanne had her mind set on Lubbock, it was in November 2016 that she knew it was the school for her when she went on a visit and got a chance to practice with the team.
“They really connected with me and I felt like that was a really good time just bonding with the girls on the field,” she said.
The competition level is different from high school to the collegiate level but head coach Michael Goos has no concerns about LaCanne’s ability to play at the next level, considering she has been playing on varsity since she was a freshman.
“She’s an amazingly talented girl,” he said. “It just one of those things where she’s going to hit obstacles and it’s going to be tough.
“And when those tough times come, I know she’s strong enough to make it through them.”
As the cafeteria filled with her friends and teammates, LaCanne took the time to take pictures with her friends and fellow teammates from various activities around school.
LaCanne was a varsity cheerleader for three years, played basketball for the Lady Eagles and was on the track team, along with playing soccer.
“She’s very involved and she’s got a very outgoing personality,” Kim said.
LaCanne signed her letter with her family and coach by her side, as her friends cheered on her accomplishment.
Goos believes LaCanne’s signing is an example for the younger students who were in attendance.
“It’s something these kids can look up and see,” he said. “It gives them something to look forward to.”
As for any last advance before she finishes up her season, and the second half of her senior year, Goos believes there isn’t much left to say.
“I don’t know if there’s anything that I can tell her that she doesn’t already know or she’s not ready for.”