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Student-athletes make college commitments

Photo of HHS student-athletes signing letters of intent
Student-athletes from Higley and Williams Field High Schools signed letters of intent on Feb. 1 – National Signing Day.

The 19 seniors play seven different sports and plan to attend schools across the nation, including the three Arizona universities: ASU, UA and NAU. The day was marked with ceremonies at both high schools involving parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and coaches.

“It is a testament to the senior class, not only athletically but academically,” said Williams Field High School athletic director Darrell Stangle. “None of them would be here without doing well in the classroom and the field.”

“We are so proud of our Higley Knights and their contributions on the field, to the school and in the classroom,” Higley High athletic director Kent Hortsmann said. “They have demonstrated excellence in all they do to achieve this milestone of academics and athletics.”

Higley High senior Avery Bennett plans to attend BYU and compete in gymnastics.

“It's an amazing school with really good academics and it has a really good gymnastics program,” Bennett said. “It's a great atmosphere and I'm excited to be involved with the school.”

Fellow Knight Brooklyn Wells said moving forward to play volleyball at Phoenix College completes a childhood goal.

“This is what I’ve dreamed about since I started volleyball,” she said. She’s played the sport the past six years.

At Williams Field seven of the 11 athletes signing played for the Black Hawk’s state champion football team.

“This is a huge honor and a lot of years and a lot of work,” Coach Steve Campbell told the students and families.

Tre Bugg said he made three college visits: Montana, West Pointe (Army) and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

“I just felt I fit in well with the Air Force and their players and the coaching staff,” he said. “It just worked out.”

Kicker Brandon Ruiz was a nationally sought-after recruit who signed with Arizona State University.

“College has always been a dream of mine,” Ruiz said. “For the football aspect, it’s going to be an honor to be able to play in front of a home crowd with my parents at every game.”

Ruiz will join three former Knights and a former Black Hawk on the Sun Devils team.

Soccer players Allison Kolsrud and Cierra Poarch will continue playing together next year. Both signed to play for Gateway Community College.

“I just like continuing with the sport,” Poarch said.

The girls have played along with Kelsey Kiesz, who signed to play for the University of Northern Colorado, for the past 10 years.

Also going to Colorado is football player Max Fine, who will attend the Colorado State-Pueblo.

“I love the coaches. I love the area. It's a great program and a winning team. I think I will fit in exceptionally well,” he said.

Two former Black Hawks and a former Knight played for Colorado-State-Pueblo last year.

Congratulations to all of the student-athletes.

Higley High
Chris Wright, Wheaton College, Basketball    
Bryce Gilbert, University of Arizona, Football
Trevor Maxwell, University of Mary, Football
Kylee Ryan, Southwest Baptist, Soccer
Kendyl Neus, Fort Lewis, CO, Soccer     
Brooklyn Wells, Phoenix College, Volleyball    
Avery Bennett, BYU, Gymnastics
Hope Abeyta, Chandler Gilbert Community College, Softball

Williams Field High
Brandon Ruiz, ASU, Football
Justis Stokes, NAU, Football
Tre Bugg, Air Force Academy, Football
Braden Valentine, Scottsdale Community College, Football
Max Fine, Colorado State-Pueblo, Football
Keegan Hornung, Concordia Nebraska, Football
DeAndre Ector, University of Minnesota- Crookston, Football
Tyler Quinn, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Baseball
Kelsey Kiesz, University of Northern Colorado, Soccer
Cierra Poarch, Gateway Community College, Soccer