Payson High recognized nine graduating seniors who plan to continue their athletic careers in a ceremony in Wilson Dome on Thursday, May 16.
It’s an event athletic director Rich Ormand started a few years ago. He did something similar at Lakeside Blue Ridge, where he served as athletic director before coming to Payson.
“It’s a way to give the kids a little recognition for their hard work and effort,” Ormand said.
Ormand, head football coach Bryan Burke and track and field and cross country coach Jonathan Ball spoke during the brief ceremony in front of parents and coaches.
Payson High regularly sends students on to participate in college athletics, a fact Ormand is proud of. He said the opportunities are out there.
“People wonder how we end up with eight-10 kids getting recruited some place every year,” Ormand said. “There’s a lot of schools out there and small-school athletes can make it at the next level. So that creates opportunities.”
Three Longhorns — Brock Davis, Meredith Kiekintveld and Luis Diaz — will continue their track and field careers in college. Davis and Kiekintveld both received scholarships to Northern Arizona University, while Diaz will continue throwing the shot put and discus at Paradise Community College.
Raegen Ashby and Savanna White will play volleyball in college. Ashby received a scholarship from Southern Utah University, while White will play and study at Pima Community College.
Taylor Brade plans to attempt to make the Northern Arizona University women’s soccer team as a walk on.
Ormand said three students embarking on Division I college athletic careers (Ashby, Davis and Kiekintveld) is the most Payson has produced since he’s been here. But he said all of these student-athletes should be proud of their accomplishments.
“Only 1 percent of high school student-athletes get scholarships to go on to the next level,” he said.
David Pasquini-Jonassen will play basketball at Lindenwood University in Illinois.
Rayce Mathews will golf at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.
Tanner Mansoor will play football at Southwestern Community College in California.