Wilsonville High student-athletes sign commitment letters
Four Wilsonville High School seniors took their next steps this week by signing commitment letters to their future universities and athletic teams.
On Wednesday, March 30, families, friends and coaches gathered in the school's auditorium to celebrate the future collegiate athletes as they decided how they will spend the next four years of their lives. The Letter of Intent Day is a tradition in which athletes across the nation officially commit to a sports team they plan to play for in the coming season.
Where they're headed:
Keenan Sanford, football — Willamette University
Ashli Edminston, volleyball— Abilene Christian University
Hanna Gilas, wrestling — Linfield University
Conner Green, football — University of Redlands
Last summer, Hanna Gilas' dad drove her around the country to show her what her collegiate wrestling career could look like.
"I'm really grateful for my parents and their encouragement. My dad really supported women's wrestling and took me around the country to show me that there are female leaders in the sport and that I could become one," Gilas said.
During the ceremony, coaches shared a few words about the athletes' hard work and passion for their sports.
Gilas was recognized by girls wrestling coach Jason Milhan for being a "pioneer," as she heads to McMinnville next fall to join the girl's wrestling team — the first female student from Wilsonville High School to do so.
"I'm really excited to pave the path in women's wrestling especially for younger girls … and take wrestling to the next level," she said.
Football cornerback Connor Green was recognized for his perseverance through adversity both "on and off the field."
"We always preach about how to sacrifice, hard work, setting goals, and Conner exemplifies all of that … for those who know Conner's story, he's had to overcome adversity — and he didn't just overcome it, he killed it," said head football coach Adam Guenther. "I didn't teach anything about overcoming adversity; that is something Connor taught me."
Green told the Spokesman he is excited to work toward his collegiate goals and keep pushing himself to work harder.
"I'm ready to get to work in college and excited to get out on the field because I have so much more to prove," he said. "I feel like my story's nowhere near done, and I have so much more to accomplish — and that is what I'm focused on in these next four years."
Ashli Edminston proved that once you're a Wildcat, you remain a Wildcat. She heads to Abilene Christian University, which also reps the Wilsonville High School mascot. Edminston joined the high school team her freshman year and instantly impressed the head volleyball coach with her skills and modesty.
Head volleyball coach Scott Thompson said the ceiling is high for the student-athlete due to her desire to keep pushing her limits, while also raising her teammates.
"It feels so great (to be honored). It is definitely a weight off my shoulder to know I'm going forward with my sport," Edminston said. "And I am so thankful for everybody who came out to support me. I'm really excited to start something new and play high level volleyball at a competitive level."
It was only a few months ago that Keenan Sanford decided to pursue college football.
"I was a baseball guy. I didn't really think about playing football up until this year.
And then I decided to just pursue it. I'm excited to start and meet new people. I've been told that I will be a big piece in turning that (football) program around, which is exciting," Sanford said.
Sanford was recognized by Guenther for being a jack of all trades when it comes to athletics.
"For all the other athletes out there, if you can model yourself out with somebody, model yourself after Keenan and what he's done throughout his high school career," said Guenther.
Guenther also gave words of advice to the other students as they pursue their next chapter.
"(The student-athletes) worked hard on and off the field and put the (work) in the classroom to get this opportunity. So I hope that goes without recommendation; the student part always comes first. Because the athletics stop at some point, and you're going to have to hang up the cleats," he said. "I'm just excited to see where your paths go from here."
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