Three Glencoe athletes sign on the dotted line
It was a busy day in the Glencoe High School commons Tuesday, Nov. 14, as the Crimson Tide held three simultaneous ceremonies to celebrate three separate Tide athletes signing college letters of intent.
Ash Bailey (softball), Isabel Womack (softball) and Dylan Brauer (lacrosse) inked their letters with friends, family and Glencoe faculty members looking on, celebrating what they accomplished together to get to this point. The athletes spoke about the culture at Glencoe that pushed them to excel, and thanked the coaches who — in many ways — made them the athletes they are today.
"The coaches here have taught me everything I know about softball," said Womack. "Jason (Eastman) and Wade (Sahlfeld) have made things so much fun, I've really learned to love the game."
Brauer, too, expressed a debt of gratitude he owed his coaches for helping him succeed.
"I attribute nearly all of my success to Coach [Kyle] Tolzman, who's turned around the whole program and personally motivated me to get better," said Brauer. "Also Coach [Ian] Reynoso, who through his weight program has turned me more into an athlete than just a lacrosse player."
Brauer signed his letter of intent to play lacrosse and attend Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. He said he chose the small, private school for its western location, coupled with the relatively low cost due to the aid he received as part of the athletic scholarship process.
"With lacrosse being an East Coast sport, there are limited options on the West Coast," said Brauer. "And I thought Westminster was one of my best options because with their aid I'm able to go there for the same cost of going to [Oregon State]."
The freshman-to-be —who carries a 3.9 GPA — hopes to continue his academic success and aspires to get some playing time his first year at Westminster.
"I'm switching from the attack position to midfield, so hopefully that will get me some action early on," he said.
And what do his parents think of him going off to compete in college athletics?
"My wife and I never thought we'd have a kid who'd make it to the college level," said Brauer's father, Robert, who teaches at Glencoe. "I was the eighth man on my high school basketball team and my wife never played sports, so we're just proud to see him excel."
Pride was a common theme during the events, particularly between Glencoe head softball coach Jason Eastman and former assistant Wade Sahlfeld, who watched two more of their players accept scholarships.
"Both girls are multisport athletes and they've put in the work," said Eastman. "I'm a process type of coach, and the failures they had to go through to get this point speaks to their work and makes me proud to have been just a little part of it."
Catcher Ash Bailey signed to play at the University of New Mexico and pitcher Isabel Womack signed to play with and attend Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
Bailey, the Metro League and state Player of the Year last season, chose UNM due to its location and an affinity for the campus in Albuquerque.
"They reached out to me and after visiting I just fell in love with the campus," Bailey said. "It's far away from home, but not too far and I love the warmth and overall environment."
Eastman thinks New Mexico got a steal in Bailey, and thinks the sky's the limit regarding what she's capable of at the next level.
"Ash is just a crazy athlete, and her ceiling is huge when she gets to college," said the coach.
Womack, after contemplating a couple other schools, fell in love with Ellensburg and quickly took to her soon-to-be coach at Central, speaking to his welcoming attitude and clear vision regarding her role on the team.
"Coach Larabee was just so excited about the prospect of me playing there, and my role on the team ," said Womack. "It just felt like an opportunity I just couldn't pass up."
Womack wants to major in pre-med at Central and — at least for now — aspires to be an ultrasound technician. But in regards to softball, she's just looking to "help out the team."
All three student/athletes thanked their parents for their past and current support, but Bailey likely summed the day up best.
"I just want to thank Glencoe in general," she said. "We have super fans here and they always come out to watch. Everyone at Glencoe has always been very supportive and pushed me to do better."
For Bailey, leaving high school will be bittersweet.
"I'm trying to enjoy my remaining time here at Glencoe, but also looking forward to the next chapter," Bailey said. "I'll miss it for sure."