Hastings High School held a ceremony where four of its athletes signed their letters of intent to play collegiate athletics April 12. Jackson Schichel, Rachel Reinke, Adam McSorley and Bri Froehling all gathered to sign their letters before family, friends and HHS students.
Schichel will wrestle for the University of Mary Marauders next season, joining HHS alumnus Austin Eichmann at the DII college, located in Bismarck, N.D., which is part of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Wrestling head coach Josh McLay said Schichel is the "heart and soul of the team."
"He works extremely hard, sets a good example, is a great practice partner and teammate, but he also keeps it loose," McLay said. "I look over and there's a song on the radio and he's dancing. I truly believe he's going to be an All-American at college, I think he's got the right style and the right attitude."
"I chose the University of Mary because Austin Eichmann was going there, I went on a visit last year, met all the guys and we really clicked," Schichel said. "I look forward to getting bigger and stronger as an athlete, and hopefully become an All-American."
Reinke signed to play softball at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., which is another DII school that competes in the NSIC. Head softball coach Ken Lundquist praised Reinke's work ethic.
"She has the mentality that there's always somebody better than you, but you can always outwork them and that's what Rachel has done throughout her life," Lundquist explained. "Rachel is the last one to leave the softball field, I literally need to say 'let's go, pack up the balls'."
Academics played an important role in Reinke's decision to go to Northern State.
"I chose this school because it has forensic science at it and because they offered me to play there," Reinke said. "I'm looking forward to playing with the girls and forming a bond with them."
McSorley will wrestle at St. Cloud State University for the Huskies, who recently took second at the 2017 NCAA DII wrestling championships. McLay raved about McSorley's toughness and ability on the mat.
"He is the toughest wrestler I've ever coached," McLay said. "In high school, a lot of times they stop things for potentially dangerous (moves), because the other kid could get hurt. In college they almost never do that, so really McSorley is going to hit his stride in college and he's going to take full advantage of that."
McSorley talked about why he chose St. Cloud State.
"I like the distance of the school, it's only an hour and 45 minutes away or so, so not too far but it's not too close," McSorley said. "I like the coaches. I look forward to wrestling, they're a top-ranked team."
Froehling will travel the farthest for her college education as she signed on to run track at University of North Carolina-Asheville for the Bulldogs. UNC-Asheville is a DI school that competes in the Big South conference. Head girls' track and field coach Greg Sandkamp said that Froehling has continuously improved the last four years.
"The neat thing about her is that we see her getting better every year, and I don't see her plateauing, I see her as she moves on to college continuing to get better as she works harder and gets stronger," Sandkamp said. "She primarily runs the 200 and 400 meter, as well as the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. I think in college a coach will ask her to run an 800 sometime with that speed, so that's coming."
Froehling said that her decision to go to UNC-Asheville was a last-minute opportunity.
"I chose UNC-Asheville because it was a great opportunity to experience something different," Froehling said. "I had my official tour there super last minute, I fell in love with it and it just felt right with the team and my family base here in Hastings. I look forward to the change, starting over, being in a different state and experiencing new things."
The NCAA's website states that just 2 percent of high school athletes play collegiate sports, and just 1 percent receive a full scholarship to a DI school. This was the third signing day event HHS held this year. Senior Lexy Langenfeld signed in November to play volleyball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Seniors Josh Miser and Ovie Embu signed in February to play football at Minnesota State University-Moorhead and Concordia University-St. Paul respectively.