Archives > Sports > Schools
Circle of Life: Lions' student-athletes ink college commitments
BY Matt Welch, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Signing Day spotlight shined brightly on four student-athletes inking letters of intent at Prestonwood Christian Academy on Wednesday afternoon.
Whether it was coaches taking turns commenting on the contributions on and off the field of their players or the cheers from the hundreds of students, family and faculty at the Leadership Center, the achievements celebrated Wednesday were given due diligence.
"It's almost unreal," said Tristan Mazzu, Prestonwood senior. "It's still hard to wrap my head around. I've been playing soccer for at least 10 years and to see my dreams come true and my hard work pay off is just amazing."
"They saw me at one of my tournaments," Mazzu said. "They actually were friends with some of my parents' friends. They invited me down to see the campus and I had already seen a bunch of other schools, but just fell in love with [Ouachita]."
Mazzu, undecided on her major but planning to minor in art, was targeting a number of smaller, out-of-state schools that included Loyola, Anderson and Mississippi College. The little-known city of Arkadelphia, Ark. won out though -- perhaps even as a surprise to Mazzu.
"There's just something about it," she said. "It's really beautiful in Arkansas, which isn't something I expected at first."
Zach Missimo, a longtime anchor on the defensive line for the Prestonwood football team, shared similar elation Wednesday. He'll look to ply that craft at Air Force, while enjoying an added benefit to his commitment.
"Academics has always been a big thing for me and [Air Force] offers such a great education," Missimo said. "It's an opportunity you can't pass up: the ability to serve your country and play football for a Division I school."
Already eyeing a number of academically stellar colleges such as Harvard, Yale or Navy, Air Force first popped onto Missimo's radar during spring football. The lineman was invited to attend a camp and offered a scholarship at its conclusion. A prospective pre-med major, Missimo also got a chance to take in the scenery around campus.
"I love Colorado," he said. "It's definitely a place I could see myself living."
A prospects camp was also how J.P. Coward earned an inside track toward his eventual commitment to Oklahoma Baptist. Attending a combine-style tryout over the summer, the Lions' cornerback piqued the coaching staff's interest immediately.
Being a school that fit Coward's profile was just an added incentive.
"It's a great Christian community and that's really important to me," Coward said. "The coaches seem like really great people and it's a smaller campus that's a great fit for me and somewhere that I can thrive in."
Also considering North Texas and Ouachita Baptist during his recruiting, Coward won't stop at just one sport in college. Running the 100-meter dash, plus the 200, 400 and all relays for the Lions, Coward established a bond with the OBU track coach during his first visit.
The two maintained contact and Coward committed in both sports Wednesday.
"I thought I was just going to get something for football, because Oklahoma Baptist has a really high-caliber track team," Coward said. "When I visited, I asked if I could talk to the track coach as well. We talked for a while and I thought that was going to be it, but he called me later on and invited me back.
"It's nice being able to get more money for both, just to help take something off my parents."
Coward plans on majoring in law, but didn't rule out his interest in philosophy.
All-state linebacker Mike Mitchell rounded out the group of signees Wednesday, finalizing his commitment to play football for national powerhouse Ohio State.
"It's amazing just getting to be here today," Coward said. "I get to sign next to one of my best friends in Mike Mitchell. We've got two great athletes like Tristan Mazzu and Zach Missimo here as well. I had always dreamed about playing sports at the college level, but actually having that day where everybody's able to celebrate and you can say that you did it and you got there, it's a fantastic feeling."
A visit with an old outdoors writer: Getting to know the man in the stands, in the field, on the lake
In no way do they represent the view of Starlocalnews.com
Only your Member ID will be posted with the comments.
Become a Registered User