Two Manhattan High basketball players and one volleyball player made their college choices official last Wednesday in a pair of ceremonies at the MHS West campus.
Par McNair, Darby Price and Jessie Kujawa each signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers into college.
McNair plans to attend Hutchinson Community College as a dual-sport athlete in basketball and soccer. Kujawa will attend Fort Hays State to play volleyball, while Price will attend Rockhurst to play basketball.
For McNair and Price, a solid senior season resulted in a fourth-place finish at state and a Centennial League title. Both were McDonald’s All-American nominees while helping lead the team to one of the best season’s in school history.
McNair said she chose Hutchinson because they offered her the chance to play both sports.
“They offered me both basketball and soccer, which I love,” she said. “The basketball team is amazing — top three in the nation — and they’re the perfect distance from home. It’s very exciting.
“Just recently I’ve been thinking about soccer, since they offered it and even encouraged it. It just felt like the right fit.”
McNair said she chose Hutchinson over Seward County Community College because of its proximity to Manhattan.
“It came down to Seward and Hutch because of their great programs,” she said. “But it in the end it came to distance and facilities and everything.”
For Price, the Centennial League Player of the year, the opportunity to play at Rockhurst was a homecoming of sorts.
“I lived in Missouri for about four years and I’m kind of familiar with that area, so I think that helped me since I knew it,” Price said. “Then the people — there are actually several Manhattan graduates that go to that school, so I know a lot of people there.”
Price said she considered several schools, even taking a visit to K-State for rowing, but settled on the Hawks, who began recruiting her over the summer.
“When I went to Rockhurst, it kind of clicked,” she said. “They had been talking to me since this summer in AAU. They were at one of my first tournaments this summer, and then they just picked it up through the season.”
For Kujawa, who was named to the All-Centennial League volleyball first team as both a junior and a senior, Fort Hays State won her over with its facilities and team.
“I went on a bunch of different visits, kind of everywhere,” Kujawa said. “At first I thought I wanted to go far, then I realized that staying close to home would probably be better for me. They have really nice facilities, their coaches and teams are all awesome.”
Kujawa said she visited the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Southern Illinois and Northwest Missouri State.
While she knows she’ll be a hitter, she doesn’t yet know where she’ll fit into the Fort Hays State system.
“I was recruited as a hitter,” she said, “but they won’t make a decision until the fall whether I’ll hit middle or outside.”
Kujawa was a member of the 2010 state title team in volleyball, while making it to the state tournament as a sophomore and a senior. She was selected to play in the KVA all-star game in June.