For Sanger’s Bryce Perry, timing is everything. Not only did Perry seize the moment by anchoring Sanger’s Class 3A state cross country championship team this past November with her ninth-place finish, she seized the opportunity to help build a fresh foundation and winning program when she signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to run for the University of Oklahoma.
Perry had already committed to Oklahoma in October, but the circumstances leading to her decision were anything but ordinary.
“The [OU] coach prior to [Mary Jayne Reeves] passed away of cancer, so they had to start from scratch and they didn’t have any information,” Perry said. “I hadn’t heard from OU at all, and in October she [Reeves] e-mailed and said my e-mail was in her junk mail. She told me to call her that night to schedule when to come down and then I went down the next weekend and just fell in love with it. The campus is beautiful, and the academics are obviously amazing.”
Several schools were courting Perry, but she said the decision was an easy one to make.
“I had my top five picked out,” Perry said. “I was deciding between Baylor, Kansas, TCU, SFA and another school. It was all of a sudden. I had been talking to Baylor and TCU for three years, and OU came out of nowhere and swept me off my feet.”
Those feet are a part of Oklahoma’s renewed focus on the women’s cross country team that Perry said she couldn’t pass on being an integral part.
“The program at OU is a work in progress at the moment,” Perry said. “They’ve never really focused on women’s cross country. They’ve focused on the guys and they are one of the top teams in the nation. So, really that was an opportunity as a 3A runner to come into an amazing program with the money to supply us with whatever we need and whatever we want and build the program off of basically freshman next year. It seemed like an opportunity to take that normally wouldn’t be there because someone like me wouldn’t normally be able to go to a Big 12, D-1 [Division I] school on scholarship.”
Perry’s role on the team will be slightly different than the one she had at Sanger, but she expects to play a crucial one, even if it is a bit unfamiliar to her.
“I see myself running the 6K for cross country,” Perry said. “I think in track, it’s going to be the 1,500 [meters] and the 3K indoor, which are the shorter distances, but not quite mid distance, because I think that will be where I will be the strongest and get the most points for our team.”
Wildcats send two to Arkansas Tech
Two Guyer defensive stars will be continuing their careers in the Great American Conference after signing with the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys under new head coach Raymond Monica.
Free safety Tavi Sanches and middle linebacker Terence Belton will continue their football careers together after helping lead the Wildcats to a Class 4A Division I state championship in December.
Three Guyer linemen move on to college ball
With three of Guyer’s five offensive linemen from 2012 being seniors, it’s no surprise that all three will continue their careers at the collegiate level after helping lead Guyer to an average of 321 yards per game on the ground en route to a Class 4A Division I state title.
Joining Patrick Morris (TCU), senior center Zach Colpean signed with the University of Chicago, whileguard Ryan Felan, signed with Texas Lutheran.
Allen signs with West Texas A&M
Defensive end Connor Allen continued a trend at Guyer by transforming from a linebacker to the defensive line and going on to play college football, following in the footsteps of former Guyer standouts such as Dan Kottman and Taylor Bible.
Allen, the defensive MVP of the state championship game in December, signed with West Texas A&M on Wednesday.
Guyer running back, receiver solidify future
After waiting his turn to become a varsity contributor, senior running back Richard Whitaker made the most of his one year as a varsity player by leading the Wildcats’ running backs in rushing with 1,280 yards and 19 touchdowns after spending his first three years at the subvarsity level.
Whitaker signed to play college football at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Also, wide receiver Preston Thrailkill signed with Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton.
Guyer girls soccer trio sign
The Lady Wildcats soccer program had three players sign their letters of intent Wednesday as Taylor Heaton, Tatianna Hernandez and Megan Stokes all confirmed their college choices.
Heaton signed to play at McNeese State, while Hernandez signed with TWU and Stokes with Incarnate Word.
Cook signs with Mary Hardin-Baylor
Guyer’ McKenna Cook signed a latter of intent to play soccer at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Rodriguez signs with NCTC
Guyer tennis player Alex Rodriguez signed Wednesday to play at North Central Texas College in Gainesville, a perennial nationally ranked team at the junior college level.
Rodriguez is a four-year varsity player and a team captain.
Guyer aquatics send two to college
DISD swimming and diving coach Chris Cullen was on hand Wednesday morning as two Guyer students signed to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
Blythe Fentress, the school and DISD record holder in both the 6-meter and 11-meter springboard, signed to dive for the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
She was joined by swimmer Christina Coon, who signed with Virginia Military Institute to play water polo as a goalkeeper. Coon is the Guyer record holder in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and was first-team all-region and second-team all state in water polo.
Ryan OLs confirm offers
Ryan offensive linemen Matt Griffin and Will Parlett validated their college plans at Ryan’s athletic fieldhouse on Wednesday.
Griffin will attend Texas A&M-Commerce after starting for the Raiders in his final three seasons.
Parlett, a backup lineman, signed with Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Ryan’s Herrera, Rodgers sign letters
While football steals most of the spotlight on National Signing Day, Ryan had two other athletes sign in other sports.
Juan Herrera will play soccer at West Texas A&M, while Logan Rodgers will run cross country and track at Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee.
Denton sends two to McPherson College
Outside linebacker Charles Boosa and defensive lineman Erik Dixon signed national letters of intent Wednesday to play football at McPherson College in McPherson, Kan.
Falcons DBs sign letters
Lake Dallas’ Roman Mitchell and Dante Basher signed their national letters of intent on Wednesday.
Mitchell signed with Stephen F. Austin, while Basher signed with Arkansas Tech.
Lake Dallas athletes sign to play across nation
Lake Dallas offensive lineman Jonathan Chambers and wide receiver Tyler Hull both signed their letters of intent to play at Southwestern in Georgetown.
Falcons offensive lineman Joe Williamson signed to play for North Central College (Ill.), while linemate John Laubacher signed with Henderson State.
Also, wide receiver Bryce Williams signed with Grambling State, and Jacob Jones picked Northwestern Oklahoma State.
In volleyball, Lake Dallas middle blocker Megan Dando has tentatively agreed to play at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, Okla.
Argyle sends three in three sports
Argyle offensive lineman Jordan Deagan signed his national letter of intent to play for Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.
Meanwhile, Sierra James will continue her volleyball career at Tyler Junior College, while Kylee Harper signed her national letter of intent to play soccer for East Central University in Ada, Okla.
Krum’s Hughes headed to Haskell
Krum wide receiver and linebacker Zack Hughes signed his national letter of intent to play football for Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan.
Liberty sends three
Liberty Christian’s Austin Freet signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to play basketball for John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.
Also signing letters were soccer players Sara Martinson and Mackenzie Millican. Martinson signed with Baylor, while Millican is headed to Southwestern in Georgetown.
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Staff writers Ben Baby and Adam Boedeker contributed to this report.