A four-man signing class boasted three future Division I athletes and two baseball players Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Park Hill High School.
Ronnie Bell (basketball, Missouri State), Weston DiBlasi (wrestling, Iowa State), Liam Henry (baseball, Arkansas) and Benjamin Zahnd (baseball, William Jewell) all made their choices official at a joint ceremony in the afternoon. The eclectic group brought an impressive mix of accomplishments to the signing table.
Having just finished up a record-setting football season, Bell kept his commitment to Missouri State for hoops.
Bell burst into the lineup as a junior and averaged 13.7 points per game — second-best for Park Hill. He enters his senior season with 445 points, needing a second outstanding year to reach 1,000 for his career.
As a sophomore, Bell played sparingly, but he became a go-to scorer as a junior. His
combination of outside shooting and highlight reel dunks made him one of the metro’s most exciting players.
Bell earned first team All-Suburban Conference Gold Division honors and helped Park Hill finish tied for second in the league in 2016-17, going on to finish 21-6 after a loss to Liberty in a Class 5 sectional.
DiBlasi returns for his senior season after a tumultuous 2016-17. He qualified for the Missouri State Wrestling Championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017, placing fifth at 126 as a freshman and finishing as state runner-up at 126 as a sophomore.
Last season, DiBlasi won the Class 4 District 4 126-pound title but was disqualified from competing at state for an undisclosed rules violation.
DiBlasi plans to join older brother Colston DiBlasi — a 2015 Park Hill graduate — on Iowa State’s roster. The pair played a role individually or together in the Trojans’ run of five straight team state titles from 2012 to 2016.
Park Hill finished third at state last year and enters this season ranked No. 11 in the nation, according to Intermat.
Henry and Zahnd gave Park Hill’s rebuilt baseball team a pair of early signees. The Trojans went 13-14 last season, ultimately fading down the stretch and falling in the first round of the Class 4 District 16 tournament.
A left-handed hitter and pitcher, Henry served as ace of the staff and hit No. 3 in the lineup while playing center field when not on the mound. He compiled a record of 3-3 with a 2.02 ERA in a team-high 34 2/3 innings, striking out 47 and walking 19.
Henry also hit .361 with a team-best .529 on-base percentage. He had 13 extra-base hits out of 26 total hits — nine doubles, three triples and one home run.
While signing with Arkansas, Henry will also enter the season as a top Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He currently ranks as the No. 3 high school prospect in Missouri, according to Prep Baseball Report.
Zahnd received only 36 at-bats as a junior but served as Park Hill’s top catcher. He collected four hits, including a double, to go with a walk in limited plate appearances while excelling on defense.