On Wednesday afternoon five McPherson girls made the biggest choice of their life so far, where to go to college. Friends, supporters, family, and coaches all gathered to witness their signing in a ceremony at the Little Theater in McPherson High School. All five girls are great athletes who have made significant contributions to their sports teams and the community at McPherson High.
Taylor Bruce committed to Fort Hays State University to continue her tennis career. She is planning on majoring in nursing. Taylor Bruce had a magnificent run at McPherson High. She placed in state every year, finishing 9th, 4th, 4th, and culminating her run with an undefeated State-Championship season this year with her partner CeAnna Allen. Bruce, in total, had 118 wins and a 79% winning percentage. She was also twice named to the Academic All-Stae team, which requires a 3.5 GPA and placing at the state tournament. When asked why Fort Hays, Taylor replied that the Coach took an immense interest in her, even going so far as to attend a tournament at Hesston to see her play.
Cassie Cooks is continuing her volleyball career next year at Graceland University. Her major will be Pre-Chiropractic. Cassie was a three-year starter for the Bullpups volleyball team. While playing volleyball she also played basketball and swam. She helped to guide the team with powerful hitting and great leadership. Cassie helped the team to 3 league titles and a 93-29 overall record. Cassie was second-team all-league her sophomore year, first-team her junior year, and first-team her senior year. Her head-coach Brett Doile said, “Cassie’s explosive swings and vocal leadership are known across the state of Kansas. I’m excited for Cassie to take her love for volleyball to her new state of Iowa, where she will compete and continue her education at Graceland University.” Cassie visited a number of schools during her commitment process, including one school in Chicago which she related in an amusing anecdote; “After seeing the five lanes of traffic in Chicago, I looked at my mother and said I can’t do it.” Graceland cultivates a small-town atmosphere that Cassie is comfortable with and this was a major draw for her. She also credited the team at Graceland for making her feel a part of the team on her first visit. Cassie will be playing for the Bullpups’ girls basketball team this winter.
Emma Ruddle will be taking her basketball talents to Fort Hayes State University next fall. She will be majoring in nursing. Fort Hays State is one of the top basketball programs in NCAA Division 2. During Emma’s two seasons on the varsity team, their record has been 44-4. She was a state champion in her sophomore year. She was an AVCTL All-Division III honorable mention pick last season. Ruddle was also a standout track athlete but chose to focus on basketball collegiately. Emma, in comments after the signing ceremony, said that “I went there for the first time (Fort Hays), and immediately bonded with the coach, he seemed like a regular guy that you could hang out with and not so businessy”. Ruddle said ahead of her senior season, “I’m ready to go win a state title, we’ve decided we’re going to adapt and overcome, and we’re going to go win another one.”
Lakyn Schieferecke will be continuing her basketball career at Washburn University, she’ll be studying nursing. Washburn is a top-notch Division II program. Coach Strathman credited Lakyn with being a tremendous leader and a dedicated member of the team. Lakyn has been the starting point guard for the Bullpups for two years. She was a part of a State-Runner up team as a freshman, a State-Champion as a sophomore, and fourth place as a junior. Lakyn has a chance to play in the maximum amount of games possible if the Bullpups can make it deep into the tournament this postseason. Lakyn said that she picked Washburn University because of their coaching staff, style of play, and new facilities. She said, “I went to a Washburn camp in sixth-grade, and Coach Brette Herber, said that maybe we’ll look in on you in the future and here we are.”. Andrea Sweat, her teammate, will also be joining her next year. Lakyn is recovering from an ACL injury and hopes to be released to practice by her doctors soon.
Andrea Sweat will also be continuing her basketball career at Washburn University next year. She plans to major in Education. Coach Strathman said that Andrea has such a high ceiling and this is what intrigued Washburn about her, her potential. He also said that Andrea is going to take a more integral role this year in the team’s success. Andrea has been a key reserve on the Bullpups team the last three seasons but has been hampered by injuries. Andrea said that Coach McHenry’s straightforward demeanor helped her to make her decision. She said she plans to play the 3 and the 4 position next year at Washburn. Sweat said, “I’m looking forward to playing my Senior year not worrying about any injuries and just being healthy.”
Congrats to all the Bullpups commits!