A foggy Tuesday morning at Waverly-Shell Rock High School brought an opportunity for three seniors to think about the next chapters of their athletic and academic lives before closing their current ones.
Jazlyn Westmoreland, Kaden Dewey and Marisa Schneider all signed their letters of intent to join their respective universities in the high school’s commons, and the students were delighted at the prospect of continuing their athletic careers.
Westmoreland braces for a change
If you’ve had the chance to see a Waverly-Shell Rock volleyball match over the past few years, it’d be hard to miss Westmoreland, who gathered more than 1,000 kills in her four years as an outside hitter in black and gold.
But when Westmoreland becomes a Cougar next year, she’ll have to get accustomed to a different part of the volleyball court.
On Tuesday, the senior signed her LOI to play volleyball at Chicago State University. And while she’s spent most of her time at W-SR as an attacker, Westmoreland will start her college career as a defensive specialist.
“I’ll be playing back row for the most part,” she said. “I can earn my spot as an outside hitter, but right now it’s just back row. It’ll definitely be a whole new experience, and it’ll just be a fresh start. I’m excited to see what happens.”
Westmoreland verbally committed to Chicago State some time ago, but it was made official Tuesday.
The senior said assistant coach Greg Manos was a key factor in convincing her to commit to Chicago State.
“He was very nice, and when I went to the camp, he was helping me out the whole time,” Westmoreland said. “He was just continuously helping me, telling me I need to do this instead of this.
“He also had me room with another prospective athlete, which was a lot of fun. I really like the campus as well.”
Until Westmoreland moves east to the Windy City, she’ll make the most out of her remaining few months in Waverly.
“It was definitely the best four years of my life. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Dewey ready for a higher level
Senior Kaden Dewey’s final baseball season at Waverly-Shell Rock doesn’t begin until May, but Dewey already knows what field he’ll be playing on in college.
On Tuesday morning, the senior signed his letter of intent to play baseball at North Iowa Area Community College.
“It’s a really awesome place,” he said.
Dewey said the coaches and the player development-friendly atmosphere at NIACC were the main reasons the college stood out to him.
“The coaches are awesome there,” Dewey said. “I know they produce really good players, and I’d like to go up to a higher level after.
“They’re just really good at developing kids into the next level. They do a lot of the same stuff that we do here in Waverly.”
For now, though, Dewey’s mind is set on achieving his ultimate high school goal: helping bring a state title to Waverly-Shell Rock. The senior, who hit .429/.615/.829 with seven extra base hits, eight runs batted in and 16 walks as a junior, believes the Go-Hawks have a good shot at improving upon their sub-state loss last season.
“W-SR baseball has been awesome to me,” Dewey said. “They gave me all the opportunities in the world to do what I wanted to do.
“I’d like to be all-state. I’d like to win the championship, which I think we can do with the team we have this year.”
Schneider excited for next step
When looking at colleges, two things about Mount Mercy University stood out to W-SR senior Marisa Schneider:
1. The Mustangs have the No. 1 ranked bowling team in the country.
2. The university also has a great nursing program.
Thus, it wasn’t the hardest choice for Schneider, who will head to Cedar Rapids in 2020 to start her collegiate bowling career and begin studying to become a nurse.
“They work really well with their athletes, and they’re very flexible with school and sports,” Schneider said. “They allow you to do both.”
Schneider has already practiced with the Mustangs and said “they’re very welcoming, nice people.”
The senior still has one year of bowling left at W-SR, and Schneider is hoping the team goes to state.