Signing day starts early at Bellarmine Prep

Staff writerFebruary 5, 2014 

It felt like its own outstretched parade Wednesday – the long line of Bellarmine Prep athletes who showed up to school at 7:30 a.m. to sign with colleges in front of their friends, families and teachers.

The school happens to like early-morning ceremonies. Others not only around the South Sound, but the state – and even the country – also held early signing day activities, or planned something for later in the day.

Some of the Lions’ athletes, including volleyball star Courtney Schwan and top-rated golfer Greg Gildea – both headed off to the University of Washington – had signed their letters of intent in the early signing period last November.

Seven others really did sign Wednesday – golfer Brodie Bordeaux (Saint Martin’s); track and field athletes Hannah Derby (UW), Hayley Hustead (South Dakota) and Jared Sinsheimer (William and Mary); soccer players Jenna Holtz (Santa Clara) and Chanelle Pederson (Montana); and football standout Garrett McKay (Montana Tech).

In all, 12 Lions’ athletes inked their names to college scholarship offers starting next fall.

Whereas Schwan sat at the front of the table Wednesday morning in the long line of Bellarmine Prep signees, McKay – the school’s leading wide receiver the past two seasons – was seated at the end of it.

It was symbolic to the order of when the athletes chose a school. McKay was certainly the last Bellarmine Prep athlete to decide.

“Just last weekend,” McKay said, “I made the decision.”

McKay, a News Tribune All-Area receiver in 2013, had varying attention from Ivy League schools, Portland State of the Big Sky Conference, Central Washington and even regional NCAA Division III programs.

Montana Tech, an NAIA program, came into the process late, but McKay visited the campus last weekend with his father, Shawn, and signed with Orediggers on the spot.

“I don’t know if I was really surprised by anything,” McKay said. “My dad always told me it’s not necessarily about how big you go. Some people who go (NCAA) Division I, but then they go to a team that isn’t a good fit for them. It is about finding a school that is a good fit for you.”

Meanwhile, Derby – the reigning three-time Class 4A girls’ 400-meter champion – narrowed her choices to UW and Arizona, a pair of Pac-12 programs.

Oddly enough, it was on her recruiting trip to Tucson, Ariz. where she decided she wanted to commit to the Huskies. It helped another national recruit – Anna Maxwell, of San Lorenzo Valley High School (Calif.) – was on the visit with her, leaning the same way.

“That was definitely helpful,” Derby said. “We decided together.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442
Todd.milles@thenewstribune.com

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