For seven Brighton High School athletes, the suspense is over.
“It’s good to get it done,” soccer player Amy Krause said Wednesday, a week after signing a national letter-of-intent to play at Michigan State. “After the signing, it became so real to me. I will become a college athlete, and I can’t wait to start.”
“Someone asked me in class how it felt to have everything set and ready,” said Kasey Codd, who signed to play soccer at Grand Valley. “I said, ‘It’s the greatest feeling in the world.'”
They all signed or made commitments on Feb. 3, the first day recruits could sign with their schools.
The list included Delaney Bussey (soccer, University of South Carolina-Upstate), Avery Hay (soccer, DePaul), Gabrielle Vogel (competitive cheer, Davenport), Porter Groce (football, Concordia) and Micah Charlick (soccer, Waynesburg (Pa.) University.
Krause, who plays soccer for the Michigan Hawks, said going to MSU was a family affair. Her parents met while students there and her older sister attends school there.
“It was always my dream to play at State,” she said. “Their coaches came to my games at showcase tournaments or at home games. I always wanted to play Division 1 soccer.”
Krause, who did not play high school soccer, committed to State in December 2014 and says she’s undecided on a major.
Hay, who played soccer at Brighton as a freshman, spent the last three seasons as Krause’s teammate with the Michigan Hawks.
“It’s a good feeling,” she said of signing with DePaul. “My friends are worried about where they’re going to college, but that was me my sophomore year. I chose DePaul because their program is on the upswing and I really like Chicago. It’s far enough away but close enough to my family.”
Hay committed last summer after first being contacted after playing in a tournament in New Jersey in 2014. She will enter the school’s college of health and sciences and plans to study to become a physician’s assistant.
Codd and Bussey are Brighton High players.
Codd looked at Western Michigan and Michigan State before choosing Grand Valley.
“I had known one of the the (Grand Valley) coaches from a prior summer camp, and he wasn’t at Grand Valley at the time” she said. “They had a coaching change and he was hired. I went to a camp and they didn’t look at me, and then after I went to a second camp, they called me.”
Codd plans to major in business and is looking forward to her senior season.
“I know a lot of girls are worried about coaches looking at them,” she said. “It feels super good to have that box checked off my list.”
Bussey, who also plays for the Michigan Hawks, says there was a Brighton connection that played a role in her decision.
“The coach (Abby Minihan) played for the Michigan Hawks and also coached under (former coach) Deepak (Shivraman) at Brighton,” Bussey said. “We had a club banquet and she spoke at it. She reached out and I went to a camp there, and I committed.”
Bussey plans to major in political science at USC-Upstate.
“It’s really nice to not have to worry about (college),” she said. “Now I can focus on the (Brighton) season and to have a blast, like it always is.”
Vogel, who has been a mainstay on the Brighton cheer team, is looking forward to the challenge at Davenport, which is moving to Division II for 2016-17.
“Their team is very intense,” Vogel said. “I was impressed with how driven they are and the talent on the team. Cheer has been a big priority in my life, and I felt it was a priority there, too. I hope (moving to Division II) will be a bigger challenge and the team pushes even harder.”
Vogal plans to major in nursing, with a plan to work as an ER or intensive-care unit nurse.
Charlick, who played football and soccer at Brighton last fall, chuckled when asked if playing one sport will be almost a break come this fall.
“It will be not nearly as busy,” he said, laughing.
Waynesburg is a Division III school located about an hour south of Pittsburgh. Charlick plans to major in criminal justice with an eye toward becoming a federal agent.
Charlick was contacted while playing for the Michigan Wolves, a summer travel team which was one of the best teams in the country last summer.
“They saw me at a tournament over the summer,” he said.
Groce, a defensive end on the Brighton football team last year, has one priority between now and the start of football camp at Concordia.
“I have to gain weight,” he said. “I weigh only about 185-190 pounds right now, and they told me that as long as I put on some weight, I’ll be able to play.”
In the meantime, Groce is undecided on a major, but he plans to study film production.
“I can not express how thankful I am for what coach (Brian) Lemons did for me,” he said. “All of the kids who wanted attention, he helped get it. He did a great job.”
With the official signings out of the way, now the next phase begins: Preparing for the next level.
“Another bar has been set,” Codd said. “In reality, there’s a lot more work to be put in. I’m excited because I knew if I went to college and didn’t have anything to keep my busy, I would be bored. I’m someone who has to by busy, and I knew college sports would keep me on track and keep me happy the next four years.”