The college football world went crazy on Wednesday as die-hard fans tracked the movements and signings of the top high school football players in the country.
National Signing Day has become a huge event for college football and that is illustrated perfectly with ESPNU’s 11 hours of coverage that included the top high school football players in the country picking up a ball cap with a logo of the school of their choice on the front. The question though, is how does it affect the local athletes in North Platte? The answer, six athletes, five from North Platte High School and one from North Platte St. Patrick’s High School, signed their national letters of intent on Wednesday as well.
There was only one football player that signed and that was the Nebraska Wendy’s High School Heisman winner from St. Pat’s, Alex Harms. Harms signed his national letter of intent to play at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Harms said winning played a role in deciding to go to Kearney.
“The ultimate factor was just the coaches and how well they wanted to win and the drive they have; and what [the coaches] do in every aspect of their lives and transferring that to their teams and just making all the guys work hard,” Harms said. “That’s what I wanted to be a part of.”
Harms said he narrowed his choices down to UNK, Fort Hays State and Chadron State before choosing to become a Loper. He is expected to play box safety for the UNK defense. The Lopers finished last season with a 3-8 record.
The local athlete that signed to compete at the highest level of college sports next season is North Platte High School’s Wyatt McGuire. McGuire signed Wednesday to run cross country and track at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
McGuire won the Class A Cross Country State Championship this fall with a time of 15:26.6. He beat the second place finisher by nearly 20 seconds. McGuire’s state meet time was the best in the state for any classification during the state meet. His success earned him the Nebraska Gatorade Cross Country runner of the year.
McGuire will run for a Nebraska cross country team that finished 11th out of 11 teams that competed in the Big Ten Championships. Despite placing last in the Big Ten the Huskers placed ninth out of 29 teams in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
North Platte High’s Drew Callaghan signed to play basketball at Hastings College Wednesday.
Callaghan currently leads a Bulldog team that is 8-9 on the 2013-14 season. He is averaging a double-double with 16.1 points per game and 12.2 rebounds per game. Callaghan is also averaging 3.6 blocks per game and 2.5 assists per game. Bulldogs coach Matt Kaminski said the Broncos are getting a player with great potential.
“We’re happy for Drew,” Kaminski said. “I know a couple coaches there very well and I think he feels very comfortable with Hastings and the direction they’re moving. I know the coaches there are excited about getting a talent like him with tremendous upside and a tremendous ceiling.”
Callaghan will join a Broncos team that is currently ranked 15th in the NAIA national rankings.
Three North Platte High School girls soccer players signed letters of intent Wednesday.
Hannah Wilkie signed her letter to play for Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. The Lady Cougars finished this past season with a 7-7 record.
Marisa Martinez signed to play soccer at Midland University in Fremont. The Lady Warriors finished this past season with and 8-6-6 record.
The third Lady Dawg to sign her letter of intent to play soccer at the next level was Taylor Banark. Banark will play at Hastings College. The Lady Broncos finished their season at the NAIA national championships ranked 25th in the country with a 16-5-1 record.