Hard Work and Dedication Help 3 Area Athletes Ink D1 Scholarships
SAN ANGELO, TX-- Three athletes from the Concho Valley signed their names on the dotted line to continue their careers at the Division I level on Wednesday.
Sonora's Camille Harris and Wall's Jayden Fiebiger each signed scholarships to run cross country collegiately. Harris will attend the University of Houston in the fall while Fiebiger will run at Oklahoma State University.
Central Bobcat Rance Rosas, similar to Fiebiger, will play baseball in the Big 12 after signing a scholarship to Baylor University.
At all three signings, there was a common theme: dedication to one's craft.
All three athletes had a different path to get to the same destination, but all three were praised for their dedication by their coaches and parents.
Jayden's track coach with the Saginaw Elite Track Club, Carlos Codie, recalled the time he first had contact with Fiebiger at a meet at Texas Tech University's indoor facility. He didn't expect to hear back from the family after exchanging contact information with Jayden's mom, Mauria Dillard.
Instead, Jayden contacted Codie because she wanted to be able to run collegiately. From then on, Codie says Jayden, who's also a star for the Wall Lady Hawk basketball team, pestered him every day for her workout at 7:00 a.m., even during basketball season.
Wall Athletic Director Jeremy Williams also praised Fiebiger after noticing her dedication over the summers. He said that the weight room and track were always filled at the beginning of the summer, but as the summer went on, Jayden was one of few to stay the course and continue working out even as the temperature got hotter.
"I'm so excited," an elated Fiebiger said. "Hard work and dedication really pays off. I've worked so hard for this over the past few years and it just feels so good to finally sign and know where I'm going the next few years."
Fiebiger knew it was possible to get a spot on a Division I team after seeing 2017 grad Faith Roberson land at Texas Tech. But she wasn't sure of that likelihood even after she was contacted by Oklahoma State last season.
"It was towards district last year during track. I was doing pretty well," Fiebiger said. "Then I got a contact from Oklahoma State and I was like, "Well, they want me. They want me to take a visit." So, I was really excited about that and just going and seeing the program in September. It made me realize this is a reality."
Just as Roberson inspired Fiebiger, the senior Lady Hawk hopes she can do the same for those looking up to her.
"It kinda helped me dream big. If she can do it, why can't I," Fiebiger said. "So, I hope I can be the same for other girls, the freshman, sophomore or even junior class right now. If they want to do the same, they can see that I did it. They can do it, as well."
The track to Houston's storied program in the Third Ward wasn't exactly that smooth for Harris, however.
Harris, a stand out on Sonora's volleyball team and state cross country medalist this year, has attended four schools in her now four-year high school career. However, no matter if it was Class 4A, 3A or 1A, Harris dominated.
The soon-to-be Cougar has been to state in either cross country or track and field in all four years of high school. What's more impressive is that she's done so while balancing band and volleyball on top of running. That's been extremely beneficial for the senior.
"It's hard to focus on one sport and be good at it," she said. "You can have too much of one thing. So, I've just kind of been spreading it out and not focusing on running all the time and just having fun in high school because there's plenty of time to focus on running later on, like in college."
The University of Houston is the alma mater of famed runner Carl Lewis. Their track is named in his honor. Harris said she's excited to be a part of that tradition.
While the trek has been somewhat lavish for Rosas playing in storied parks like Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, the trip has also been just as long and even just as tough. That has made his moment just as rewarding.
"It's incredible. I mean, going in the fall and playing games up in Dallas to just to getting exposure from West Texas Elite and going all over," Rosas said. "It's definitely been a journey for many many years. It's an honor."
Rosas made his commitment back in July and knew immediately it was the right choice. The decision to sign as soon as the National Signing window opened was also a choice which reflects his focus on his team.
"I just wanna go out with my teammates," Rosas said. "I mean, we've all been friends since we were kids. This is what we love to do. It's going to be great to go out with them and relax and have fun and play the game of baseball."
"I was sitting here thinking about when I get up here and talk about Rance ... all the positive things," Central head baseball coach Patrick Penry said. "And it goes beyond being a phenomenal athlete ... You think of all the things these high school kids go through on a day-to-day basis and their schedule and all the different distractions. It's always good to have kids sign early so they don't have to think about that. That's one less distraction."
The senior is also carrying on a precedent set by guys like Brock and Davis Martin, who went on to play collegiately at Texas Tech. Davis is currently in the farm system of the Chicago White Sox. He's excited about carrying that torch.
"When I came in this room three or four years ago and watched Davis Martin sign, it stuck with me," Rosas recalled. "I wanted to do the same thing. That's why I'm doing it here [at the San Angelo ISD administration building]. I hope that some of the younger guys ... will see it."