Seniors athletes sign with universities


Ryan Johnson

Seniors Keegan Sturdy, Zekkiah Hird, Daniel Apple, and Sam Hubert stand with their certificates at college signing April 17.

Lynlee Hutchison, Staff Reporter

In addition to the 12 De Soto High School student-athletes who have already signed to play sports in college,  four more De Soto High School seniors signed at a ceremony on Wednesday, April 17.

Among these student athletes is  Daniel Apple, who officially committed to continue his soccer career at Baker University.

“I’m really excited to get started. It’s a huge honor to sign at such a strong program, and it feels great to have all my hard work finally paying off,” Apple explains.

Apple has always been very passionate about soccer, and can’t wait to be back on the field after recovering from two hip impingement surgeries.

“I’m most looking forward to being immersed back into a team culture, because when you are injured you feel disconnected. I’m really excited to work alongside my teammates and have some fun,” Apple said.

Sam Hubert signed with the University of Kansas to continue running on the cross country and track team.

“I’ve known since about my junior year that I might have the opportunity to go run in college. I didn’t know that I would have the opportunity to sign with a D1 school, and that’s obviously been a positive development,” Hubert said.

The opportunity to sign with a Div. 1 school does not come easy. Hubert had to build his skills and determination to where he is as an athlete today.

“I made improvements by working really hard between my sophomore and junior year. I think I was able to kind of jump from being just a good high school runner, to being a really great high school runner,” Hubert said.

Running is very different between high school and college expectations. Hubert looks forward to taking on the challenge to adapt to the new ways of training.

“My primary goal is to just get adjusted to the different distances I’m going to have to be running, especially in cross country. It would be amazing if I could go and be a contributing, scoring member of the team being top seven on the KU cross [country] team my first season,” Hubert said.

The third senior to sign was Zekkiah Hird. Hird will be attending Ottawa University in the fall and signed for cheerleading.

“I’m excited to be a part of a program and I think Ottawa’s specifically fits me well. I’m ready to compete a lot more within the year and hopefully nationally next spring,” Hird said.

Cheerleading has been a major role in Hird’s life since the eighth grade, but he was never sure if he would take it to the collegiate level.

“I didn’t necessarily plan on it [cheering in college], but I knew in the back of my mind that I wasn’t quite ready to stop yet,” Hird said.

Not only was Hird’s decision based on wanting to continue as an athlete, but his studies also played a part on his decision.

“Being scouted at competitions throughout high school, I had my options, but it was mostly finding a balance of a school and program that both worked for me,” Hird said.

Keegan Sturdy was the final senior to sign, committing to Mid-America Nazarene University to continue playing football.

“I hope to continue my academics, going into business and administration, and also just continue to play the sport that I enjoy to play,” Sturdy said.

Sturdy looks forward to the new bonds he will make moving on to the next level.

“There is nothing like scoring a touchdown. It’s pretty fun, but being with your teammates is just something you don’t really get out of anything else besides football. It’s [football] a different team atmosphere, and getting to enjoy that for four more years is pretty awesome,” Sturdy said.

All of these athletes have worked extremely hard to reach these opportunities ahead of them, they are getting one step closer to moving on to these chapters of life after their time at De Soto High School.