The Panther's Paw

Spring Hill Seniors Take a Major Step Toward Their Future

Signing Season in Full Swing

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Spring Hill Seniors Take a Major Step Toward Their Future

Tyler Caron celebrates his signing with St. Mary's University to play Basketball next Fall

Tyler Caron celebrates his signing with St. Mary's University to play Basketball next Fall

Alex Caron

Tyler Caron celebrates his signing with St. Mary's University to play Basketball next Fall

Alex Caron

Alex Caron

Tyler Caron celebrates his signing with St. Mary's University to play Basketball next Fall

Alex Caron, Staff Reporter

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The Spring Hill Athletic Department and the school district as a whole have recently had the honor of seeing two of their high school athletes go on to sign at the collegiate level. Olyvia Dowell signed to play soccer at Oklahoma State University November 14th and shortly after, on November 27th, Tyler Caron signed with St. Mary’s to play basketball. Renee Petree closed out the year signing on December 7th with Texas Lutheran University.

 

While Olyvia has only been a member of the Spring Hill community for a short time, she was quickly embraced by the student body, many of whom showed up for her signing. As students filed into the bleachers, Olyvia, her mom, dad, and sister all took their place behind the table. The ceremony began with a line of speakers, first of whom was Athletic Director Coach Mercer. He was quickly followed by Olyvia’s dad and coach, Jimmy Dowell. Coach Dowell expressed his pride in his daughter for her accomplishments and remarked how this would be the first season he would get to coach her since she was a little girl. In addition to these two, Courtney Spier, one of Olyvia’s close friends, was asked to speak. Courtney delivered a brief statement about how much their friendship has meant to her over the school year and how proud of Olyvia she was before reciting Coach Mercer’s motto: “Build The Hill.” At this point in the ceremony, Olyvia took the opportunity to speak and briefly, thanking her friends and family before she became choked up and was unable to continue. Then it was time for her to sign to the documents. While the action itself seems a little anticlimactic, it symbolized all the hard work and dedication that she has put in to reach this moment since she started soccer at five years old and is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. Her love for the sport is evident in her commitment with this Olyvia expressed how much her team means to her, “[She} loves the aspect of teamwork. [Her] teammates are her best friends, and they go through lots of conditioning, complaining, and hard work to get where they are and be successful.” Olyvia chose to make OSU her home for the next 4 years because she “has always loved Stillwater Oklahoma, her first visit there felt very personable, and everything just seemed right.” On top of this, the campus is beautiful and not too far from home. While her road to OSU was not easy, and she is sad to leave her family, she feels that “all the hard work has finally paid off. All the cone drills, fitness camps, two-hour, and practices have finally paid off.”

 

Tyler’s ceremony was of a similar organization and function as Olyvia’s, however no less special with a large portion of the student body showed up to witness the notable occasion. Tyler sat at the table surrounded by his family and coaches. Mercer spoke first and commented on how special of a student and athlete Tyler was. He also noted that Tyler’s freshman year was also his own first year at Spring Hill, and he has enjoyed seeing Tyler grow as an athlete and person, adding how Tyler grew from 6’ to 6” 7 throughout his high school years. Coach Endor followed Coach Mercer and stated that he was “honored to have coached Tyler over the last four years” and spoke of Tyler’s drive and commitment toward the betterment of himself and his team. Following Coach Endor, Scott Caron, Tyler’s father, spoke. He commented on how proud he was of Tyler’s accomplishments and expressed how much he enjoyed seeing Tyler develop as an athlete from a little kid standing on the soccer field, wiggling his loose tooth to a senior in high school getting ready to sign for college. The microphone was then handed off to Tyler who thanked his friends and coaches for supporting him and encouraged everyone to come out for the game that night against Tatum. After he spoke he signed the letter of intent that signified a major step toward his future. Throughout his life, Tyler has been dedicated to achieve this final goal of playing basketball at the collegiate level. He started in Upward league basketball, joined a competitive travel team, started school ball, and then joined a club team, all to help him achieve this goal.Tyler stated that he feels all of this hard work has paid off. Although he is sad knowing this is his last year playing on this team, he is excited to get the opportunity to play for St. Mary’s and says that he chose this school because,” [He thinks he’ll] fit in well with the style that they play” and “the coaches are amazing and a lot of fun to be around.” He also expressed that he was encouraged to commit there because his friend and teammate, Jeron Pressley is also committed to St. Mary’s.

 

Renee’s signing, much like the other athletes’, was filled with emotion. Mercer opened the signing by introducing Renee’s club coach, Kati Tamanaha, who had only good things to say about Renee. She touted that Renee “always showed up to work” and “she always pushed herself to improve at her game on and off the field.” Following Coach Tamanaha, Mrs McFatridge, Renee’s junior year English teacher, stood to give a few remarks. She commented on Renee’s reliability and willingness to do whatever was asked of her, inside and outside the classroom, and in a respectful manner. As Mrs. McFatridge finished speaking, Renee’s cheering squad, Emilee Schell, jumped up to grab the microphone. As she began speaking about how much Renee means to her as a teammate and friend, two other students, Hannah Yoder and Raygan Barnhill, joined Emilee. Hannah took the microphone next and expressed how much she appreciates Renee. She gave a brief anecdote about herself as a nervous freshman playing on Varsity, and how Renee helped her feel part of the team and show her the ropes. Raygan, another senior soccer girl, was the last friend that spoke. She expressed how much fun she has had playing soccer with Renee over the last four years. Raygan exclaimed, “I’ll always cherish the time I got to spend on the field with such an extraordinary person.” Renee’s mother then gave a brief speech before Athletic Director, Kelly Mercer, took to the microphone, offering a few words of how proud he was, and encouraged Renee to finally sign her name on the dotted line. As Renee signed she “felt overwhelmed.” Renee commented. “I felt extremely loved and then it hit me that this was actually happening.” Like Olyvia, she stated that “All the hard work had finally paid off.” This hard work started at an early age of four when she joined the Longview City Soccer League. Her passion for the sport took root in junior high, where she began playing for the FCD-ETX club team for Tamanaha. From there she played varsity at Spring Hill as a freshman and continued playing to her senior year. When asked what her favorite aspect of the game was, Renee said, “you can’t win a game on your own. You have to work as a team to accomplish anything.” At the end of the day, Renee is extremely pleased with how her career came together. When asked why TLU was the place for her, she responded, “TLU has a beautiful campus, a great education, and the team and coach were very welcoming.”

 

Following each of the signings, the athletes took photos with their friends, families, and classmates and then attendees were provided with a snack provided by the families of the athletes to thank those who showed up. These athletes are only  shining examples of exceptional student-athletes here at Spring Hill. Their accomplishments are a testament to the dedication they have put into their respective sports and the hours that they have spent improving their game. These athletes are much deserving of the honor of playing college athletics. It will be interesting to see how these student-athletes continue to develop as they step into their future.

Alex Caron
Tyler Caron celebrates his signing with St. Mary’s University to play Basketball next Fall

 

Alex Caron
Renee Petre commits to play soccer for Texas Lutheran University in teh Fall of 2019

Olyvia Dowell, daughter of Head Girls’ Soccer Coach Jimmy Dowell, sign with Oklahoma State to play soccer at the collegiate level on Wednesday, November 14

 

About the Writer
Alex Caron, Staff Writer

Name: Alex Caron

Grade and Graduating Year: Senior, 2019

Position on Paper: Staff Writer

Year's on Staff: 2

Extra Curriculars: Band, Student...

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