County athletes commit to college careers

Six Howell athletes posed for photos on national signing day on Wednesday. They include (front low, from left) Miranda Coen, Maggie Mitter, Bailey Barnes, (second row) Trevor Wetzel, Dan Collins and Brian D'Ascenzo. (Photo courtesy Howell High School)
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HOWELL — Sports talk shows and cable channels were filled Wednesday with tape of high school players picking the schools where they want to play football.

It was national signing day, but it wasn’t just for football prospects.

At Howell High School, for example, a half-dozen athletes gathered after announcing where they will go to college (in the case of Division III athletes) or who they signed national letters-of-intent to play for.

Maggie Mitter, whose brothers played hockey at Howell, is part of the recruiting class at Adrian College, where she will play forward and study exercise science.

Maggie Mitter poses with her parents Wednesday.
Maggie Mitter poses with her parents Wednesday.

“I never thought I would be able to continue my (hockey) career,” she said, “because it was always the guys who were continuing. So when I learned there are girls (hockey) teams in college, I was stoked.”

Mitter committed in May and joined the college’s Division III squad Wednesday.

Adrian has two squads, one of which competes in the American College Hockey Association, and the Division III squad, which Mitter is joining. Neither have athletic scholarships, but players qualify for academic aid.

She’ll also work with someone familiar to Howell hockey in assistant coach Cole Workman, a Howell grad.

Miranda Coen was the lone Division I signee in the group, signing a letter-of-intent to play soccer at Chicago State.

Miranda Coen
Miranda Coen

She played one year for Howell, as a freshman, and spent the last year playing for the Canton Celtic club in the fall and for the Michigan Jaguars Showcase team in the spring.

“I took a deep breath before signing (the letter),” she said, laughing. “I was like, ‘This is real.'”

Coen, who plans to study nursing, said she filled out an online recruiting profile and also played in several tournaments in the spring that helped get some attention.

Another soccer player, Brian D’Ascenzo, signed with Spring Arbor.

“I have been talking to them since my sophomore year,” he said. “I didn’t have any other options. I didn’t talk to anyone else.”

Two Highlanders football players signed their letters-of-intent on Wednesday.

Dan Collins, who sustained a serious knee injury that ended his seasoning 2015, signed with Northwood.

Dan Collins
Dan Collins

“I’ve been rehabbing the knee for a while now,” he said. “It’ll be a while before we get there, but we’re working hard.”

Collins, an offensive lineman, says Northwood stuck with him even after his injury.

“I’ve been talking with them for a while,” he said. “It was a school I had interest in from the beginning.”

A teammate, Trevor Wetzel, signed with Davenport University, which recently joined Division II and will join the GLIAC next season.

“They offered (scholarships) to me and Dan at the same time,” Wetzel said. “Northwood offered me, too, but I decided to go to (Davenport).”

Trevor Wetzel
Trevor Wetzel

Wetzel’s season was curtailed by a shoulder injury that may still require surgery, but he was happy about the prospect of seeing Collins on the field.

Unless it’s on special teams.

“I wouldn’t like that,” he said, laughing. Wetzel and Collins are the same height, but it’s safe to say that Wetzel, a wide receiver, would have a sizable weight disadvantage.

“I don’t want to see Dan out there,” he said, laughing some more.

Bailey Barnes, a budding journalist, opted to join the cheer team at Alma College.

Bailey Barnes
Bailey Barnes

“I thought about going to (Michigan) State or Western (Michigan),” she said, “but I changed to Alma because I thought it would be the best fit for me.”

At Pinckney, Bryce Heatwole and Joey Bachmeier signed with Northern Michigan and Hillsdale, respectively.

Pinckney seniors Bryce Heatwole, left, and Joey Bachmeier signed with Northern Michigan and Hillsdale on Wednesday,
Pinckney seniors Bryce Heatwole, left, and Joey Bachmeier signed with Northern Michigan and Hillsdale on Wednesday,

“We’re getting Pinckney’s name out there,” football coach Jakob Gailitis said, “letting them know we produce high-level kids.”

A third student, Gabi Wink, signed a letter-of-intent to play field hockey at Ohio University.

Hartland released a list of signees in a story on its website, including swimmer Alex Nelson, who will attend the University of Kentucky, and baseball standout John Baker, who signed with  Ball State.

Read more and check out photos here!

One athlete who is still looking for a school to play for is Brighton running back Joey Clifford.

“Still in the process,” he said Wednesday. “I’m waiting to see if there are some openings, and I’m waiting it out. I haven’t made up my mind. It’s disappointing, but it’s a learning experience in that you can’t always get what you want. You have to do what’s best for you and just wait it out and see what happens.”

Clifford is one of at least a dozen athletes who will be signing in coming weeks.

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1 Comment

  1. Such a nice article giving some much earned attention to these athletes. Nice job to all.

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