Wednesday afternoon, in front of a large crowd, Shoemaker held its second signing day of the year with 11 student-athletes making their collegiate decisions official.
All around the gym, each student’s family and friends decorated tables with posters, pictures and food to celebrate the occasion.
“It says a lot about our student-athletes, our parents, our faculty, our administration and the fact that these kids have taken care of their academics,” Grey Wolves head football coach Toby Foreman said of having such a high number of students signing.
“There’s not a school that promotes their students more than Shoemaker High School’s athletic department,” he added. “If they’re willing to come spend four years here putting in the work, we’re willing to put the extra effort in to promote them at the next level.
“And that’s what these young people have done.”
Of those eleven athletes, four track and field members signed.
“That tells us that we had a really good talent base that came through here,” girls running coach Richard Daniels said. “(Boys running coach) Michael Woods and I were blessed to have a lot of great seniors that helped us get to where we needed to get to.”
From the 2018 District 8-6A championship team, two Lady Grey Wolves are headed out of state to continue their running careers.
Trenae Bynum committed to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“It’s really unbelievable,” she said, looking around as the gym bleachers filled with friends and family there to watch. “It’s been a long four years and it feels like it came fast now.
“It’s been a long time coming, a lot of work, a lot of late nights.”
Teammate Geordan Blanchard signed to continue her running career at Garden City Community College in Kansas.
“I never expected this to happen,” she said. “I always dreamed of it but to actually have it happen is great.”
The reality of this opportunity just became real to Blanchard two weeks prior to signing day.
“I knew I was going to run track in college,” she said, “I just didn’t know where I was going to be running.
“When I watched (Garden City’s team) practice, I knew I wanted to sign, because I like working hard.”
Blanchard says she plans to work hard to transfer to a Division I program after two years.
“I watched the practices and knew it would help me get there,” she said.
When it came time for Woods to introduce Bob Santiago and Ricky Peters, he shared with the crowd what an honor it is for him to play a role in their high school careers.
“It feels like it’s my own kids signing,” he said. “I’m just excited because as their coach, especially when they have a talent like this, whether it’s academic knowledge or athleticism, you’re supposed to help them make it to the school.
“Whether it’s school, the armed forces or whatever it may be, that’s what I’m here for on this journey, so I’m just excited to be part of the step to help them get to where ever God is putting them in.”
Santiago, a sprinter, will continue running at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
“It just felt right,” he said of choosing to commit to an out-of-state school. “The coaches have made a good relationship with me.
“When I took a visit, it was amazing. It just caught my attention.”
As for Peters, he will stay in-state as he signed with Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Running in college wasn’t always the plan, but once the school showed interest in him, he looked up their runners and realized they could help him grow as an athlete over the next four years.
“I wasn’t actually planning on signing,” he said, “but it’s just such a blessing that colleges were interested in me for what I can do.
“I’ve always said it as a joke, but even a joke can take you far.”