By Don Rush
On a sunny Monday afternoon in March, about 70 people, family members, friends, coaches and coaches-to-be gathered inside at Oxford High School to show their support for the 11 seniors as they signed letters of intent to participate in college athletics.
“I would like to welcome our students, teammates, classmates and friends of the signees,” Oxford Athletic Director Tony DeMare told the crowd at the March 20 e event. “I would also like to welcome staff and administrators who are present today. And I would especially like to recognize family members of our signees. Congratulations to you and thank you for all that you have done through this journey.”
The 11 signees were seated at a table in alphabetical order:
Nick Champane signed for Hockey with Adrian College; Koen Eberhard for Wrestling with Albion College; Colton Farwell for Soccer with Gardner Webb University; Alana Gizinski for Cheer with Grand Valley State University; Cam Jarrett for Football with Alma College; Alyssa Kuhl for Soccer with Mars Hill University; Caroline Martinez for Bowling with Rochester University; Hailey May for Cheer with Olivet College; Olivia McGuire for Cheer with Adrian College; Ethan O’Dowd for Hockey with Adrian College; and Owen Schihl for Baseball with Kalamazoo College
“I want to offer a rundown of today’s event by the numbers,” DeMare said. “We have 11 students signing today bringing our total for the school year to 16. Today’s Signing includes nine different colleges and universities, of those nine, seven are in-state and the other two are both in North
Carolina. Mars Hill and Garner Webb.
“Eight different OHS Sports are represented here today. That’s definitely something that I like to see. And something our family members might like to hear is that today’s signing will total almost half a million dollars in scholarship money.
“Each of our student-athletes are going to share with you but before they do it’s important to note that today doesn’t just happen. These athletes weren’t born with a stamp of approval to receive a scholarship. They put in a lot of work, a lot of training, a lot of sacrifice and commitment. It symbolizes all of those characteristics.”
DeMare then turned his attention to the students’ parents.
“Your role in this is not forgotten or unnoticed. You undoubtedly know of the countless road trips, early mornings, late nights and meals on the run. Suffice it to say that a great deal goes into what we see coming to fruition here today.”
And, then he spoke about coaching.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize our coaches. You have poured in a great deal to these individuals as well your teams. On behalf of our school, our community and these families, we appreciate you and thank you.”
He then gave each student a few moments to make statements. They thanked their parents, siblings, coaches and friends. When they finished DeMare had one more statement before family members could take pictures.
“If you’re a Junior or an underclassmen and it’s your desire to compete at the next level, hopefully you have taken a good look and you see what this looks like and what it feels like. And hopefully, your name can be on one of these letters and you can be sitting here in the near future.”