Six more Manhattan High athletes signed national letters of intent Monday afternoon inside Rezac Auditorium in front of family and friends, giving the Indians eight total for signing day and 15 so far among the class of 2014.
Winston Dimel and Darian Taylor each signed on to play college football, while Ally Taylor, Aleise Williams, Lani Fischer and Emma Samenus all signed on to play college soccer next year.
Manhattan head football coach Joe Schartz said it will be tough to replace the leadership provided by Dimel and Darian Taylor, the only two signees set to continue their football careers.
“Winston and Darian have meant a lot to our program, as well as their senior classmates,” Schartz said. “We’re going to be hard-pressed to try and replace them, but on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for them to continue and play the game that they love and continue their education, so I’m very proud of them.”
Dimel is going to Kansas State as a fullback, where his father Dana co-coordinates the offense. He chose the Wildcats over offers from Oklahoma and Arkansas, mainly because of his familiarity with the program.
“I know all the coaches, and I’m so cool with all the players,” Dimel said. “Deante Burton, we’ve played together already, and now we’ve got Torelle (Johnson) coming back, those are people I know already. And Taylor Hilgers is on the team, too, and I played with him in high school. I’m so close with all of them — it’d be dumb not to go there.”
Dimel, who had shoulder surgery that ended his senior basketball season over Christmas, said he’ll be ready to go in time for spring ball.
“It’s doing good,” he said. “I’ve got another rehab, then I can start lifting again. I’ll be good to go by the summer, and will be going in the spring.”
For Taylor, the choice to go to Pittsburg State came down to facilities and environment.
“I went down there and really liked their facilities, and the team and family environment down there,” he said. “I think it’s the best choice for me. It’s also got a good nursing program, and I really like it down there.”
Taylor said he’s considering a degree in nursing, but is still up in the air. He was recruited by several MIAA schools, as well as junior colleges around the state.
“I took visits to Washburn, pretty much all the MIAA schools here recruited me and offered me, Fort Hays and Washburn,” Taylor said. “And all the JUCOs, but I took visits to Butler and Washburn. Pitt State I did last second, went down there the day before a game, but I checked it out and really liked it.”
For the girls’ soccer program, having four signees is the product of hard work to get the program exposure among college coaches.
“What we do in club and the offseason, and we have a development camp here where we bring in college coaches so they can get some more exposure,” Sanchez said. “Then in the fall they also go to showcases. We make it work so these girls are getting as much exposure as they possibly can.
“They play year-round, so we try to put a focus on playing at the next level, and the rest takes care of itself.”
For Fischer, the choice to attend Hastings (Neb.) College came down to a right fit.
“I chose Hastings because I was looking for a smaller school, and their soccer program is great,” she said. “I really got along with the coach and all the players, and I know some of the girls coming in, so I was excited about that. And they have my major, which is graphic design.”
Samenus chose Butler County Community College because of a camaraderie with the coaching staff and current players.
“I went to camp there and had a blast,” Samenus said. “I like his coaching, and really got along with him and the other players that were there. Then I went back home, and got a text that was a (scholarship) offer, and I was really excited, because I didn’t know it was going to be coming. Right then and there I knew I wanted to go.”
For Ally Taylor, Emporia State just felt right among the schools she visited, which included Newman, Butler County and Converse College in South Carolina.
“I really liked their coach and their school,” she said. “I visited them and it’s just a good fit for me. I looked at a couple other schools, and Emporia really stood out to me.”
Williams decided on Hutchinson Community College because of its physical therapy program.
“It’s just a great school overall, especially for what I’m going for, physical therapy,” she said. “The soccer team is really great and the coach is so inviting, so I just felt at home there. I was kind of choosing between soccer and track, and they said I could do both if I really wanted to, so I’m debating that, but I’ll definitely be playing soccer.”