By Mike Deak
WARSAW â Warsaw Community High School celebrated its final group of student-athletes heading to the next level to compete in a varsity signing event on Jan. 31 in the Tiger Den at WCHS. More than a dozen athletes announced their college intentions and their sport of choice, adding to a very long list of Tiger athletes who have committed to competing at the college level.
WCHS athletic director Matt Binkerd was the emcee for the event and noted that the combined cumulative GPA of the 14 athletes at signing was 3.9.
Here are the biographies of the athletes on site as well as their own words explaining their final decisions on choosing a college destination.
Wini Barnett, IUPUI, track and cross-country
Clubs: Octagon Club, National Honor Society
Honors: 3x XC State Qualifier, 4Ã800 Relay Track State Finalist (2021), 4Ã800 Relay Track School Record Holder, All-NLC (XC and Track), Academic All-State
GPA/major: 4.40, biology and neuroscience
His words: âItâs going to be a change for sure. It will be something that I will have to adapt to. I think in the long run it’s going to be fun. I will appreciate more to be challenged, to be pushed and to have competition to run with will make me better.
Aiden BinkerdIndiana WesleyanSoccer
Honors: All-NLC, Academic All-State, Captains Award, WHME TV-46 Student Athlete of the Week
GPA/major: 4.01, commerce
His words: âI think the movie speaks for itself, but I think they saw the leadership on the pitch, especially as a captain. I work hard. My skills and talent can be used, I’m ready to go.
Isaiah CourtoisIndiana WesleyanSoccer
Clubs: National Honor Society, Source of Strength
Honors: Academic All-State, Champion of Character (BB), WHME TV-46 Student Athlete of the Week
GPA/major: 4.15, business administration
His words: âI think I’m big enough to play either guard or tackle. Being in a triple option offense makes me more capable of playing in both positions. I can play multiple positions and I have speed and strength, I think that translates to the next level.
Clubs: Baker Youth Club Volunteer, Winona Lake Grace Brethren Volunteer/Teacher
GPA/major: 3.37, commerce
His words: âCoaching staff and campus at Taylor, I liked that it was located a bit close to my home but just far enough away. The technical staff there is a group that will push me both in football, but also spiritually. It’s a great opportunity to be able to go there and play football.
Marin Hart, Purdue Fort Wayne, Track
Clubs: KC Chamber, Mission Point Church Volunteer, Leesburg Elementary Basketball Coach
Honors: All-NLC, Section and Regional High Jump Champion, Hurdles Section Champion, 2x State Runner Up
GPA/major: 4.27, marketing and management
His words: âThey have their own dorms, which are actually apartments, which have kitchens and a door to my own bedroom, so I don’t have to share it with anyone. They also have a very nice indoor facility. The coaches are very nice and competent, and the program is young. I have a chance to get records there.
Sam Justice, Grace, Baseball
GPA/major: 3.62, pre-med
His words: âI fell in love with the campus and the atmosphere. The facilities are all excellent and it’s a nice place to go. They play good and hard baseball.
Clubs: KYLA, Octagon Club, National Honor Society, Tiger Leadership Council
Honors: 4x All-NLC, 2x All-District, Second Team All-State, Academic All-State, WCHS season assist record holder
GPA/major: 4.17, commerce
His words: âBeing in Chicago opens me up to the world. It’s a port for everything. I just knew it would be a great game. I want to go to law school, so there are great internship opportunities. I want to go the sports route, maybe be an agent or something.
Kiersten ParkerSaint FrancisFootball
Clubs: Octagon Club, National Honor Society, President of HOSA
Honors: 3x All-NLC, Football Team Captain, Best Team Player Award, 4x All-State Academic
GPA/major: 4.03, nursing
His words: âI went to an ID Camp before their new coach (Ken Nuber), I really liked the campus and I have a PA school on campus which is a huge plus. After meeting Ken, he was super outgoing and super welcoming, and I just felt wanted in this program. I like their style of play, more athletic and faster.
Andrew Ross, Wabash, Wrestling
Honors: 2x semi-state qualifier, 4x Warsaw guest champion, wrestling team captain, 93 career wins (through Jan 31)
GPA/major: 4.1, accounting
His words: âFrom what I’ve seen, most wrestlers aren’t multiple time state champions or anything, but they still become great wrestlers. They are ranked each year at the national level. I think I have a great opportunity to improve there and become a better wrestler overall.
Abby Sanner, Trine, Basketball
Clubs: National Honor Society, Tiger Leadership Council, NG3
Distinctions: IBCA All-State HM (BB), All-NLC (BB/VB), IFN All-Area and TU Player of the Year (BB), Coaches Award (BB), Lady Tiger All-Tourney Team, Academic All- Status (VB/Track),
GPA/major: 4.47, accounting and actuarial science
His words: âI knew I wanted a college that majored in actuarial science, not many colleges have that. I thought Trine had that and a good basketball program. It’s a place where I can excel and he should treat me well. I debated doing athletics as well as basketball in Trine, but basketball is my first love and what I’ve always done along with travel basketball. It’s just my first love and I knew that was where I wanted to continue.
Avery Sleeth, Grace, Softball
Clubs: National Honor Society
Honors: All-NLC, Defensive MVP
GPA/major: 4.16, nursing
His words: âStep up and be put in a leadership position as a rookie made me grow pretty quickly on the softball field. I have just ordered this receiver’s position since. I attended a practice (with Bo and Sam Coolen at Grace) and worked with some of the receivers with drills and how they command their positions and learned what the opportunity to play at Grace looks like, no matter where I might be positioned.
Sam Slough, trine, track and cross-country
Distinctions: State qualification (2020)
GPA/Major: 4.13, Design Engineering Technology
His words: âI thought that by running more, I became more comfortable because I’ve been doing this for so long now. I’m glad to know that Trine doesn’t have to worry about me. I’m just having fun with it. The more I have fun, the more I work. Â»
Trace Stookey, trine, track
Clubs: National Honor Society, Tiger Leadership Council
Honors: IATCCC Academic All-State, IFCA Academic All-State, 2021 Regional Qualifier (Track), 2021 Max Truex Shot Put Champion, Soccer Team Captain
GPA/major: 4.01, civil engineering
His words: âMy first thing is engineering, second is throwing. Trying to find a school that had both was quite difficult. Valpo has a good engineering program, but I’m not a D-1 pitcher. Wabash wanted me to run, but they don’t have engineering. Purdue, I’m not D-1. I found Trine and immediately fell in love with it. It felt like home.
Bailie StephensLawrence TechBasketball
Clubs: National Honor Society, Warsaw Vocal Group
Honors: All-NLC, IFN All-Area
GPA/major: 3.94, nursing
His words: âI did my travel program and got a scholarship and then went to their basketball camp. They adored me and offered me a place right after the camp. It was a release from my shoulders. I felt safe there.
Not at hand
Warsaw had a handful of athletes entered who were not present for the event.
Kacilyn Krebs said earlier in the fall playing basketball at the University of Indianapolis. Samantha Aalbue chose Montreat College to play soccer. Noah Chew chose Trine University to play football and track. Gracie Willig chose Albion College to swim.