A total of 11 student-athletes inked letters of intents in one of the largest signing events ever at Platte County High School.
Below is a recap of each of the athletes and where they will attend school in the fall.
Jacob Laures, Benedictine track and field
An all-state pole vaulter, Laures will continue a family tradition of sorts heading to Atchison, Kan. He will join a Ravens track program where his sister, Shelly, competes in the heaptahlon, javelin and high jump. His oldest sister, Taylor, just finished nursing school at BC and another sister, Stephanie, is a sophomore nursing major.
That surely made it an easy choice, right?
“It was a harder choice actually,” said Laure, who also got an offer from Northwest Missouri State. “But, I figured it was a good choice to have them around.”
Laures noted the faith-based atmosphere was a big selling point, while the small class sizes and a campus that felt like ‘home’ made it an easy choice.
Two of the BC coaches attended the ceremony for Laures, who will leave PCHS as the school record holder in the pole vault.
Jaycie Stubbs, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology track and field
A multi-sport athlete for Platte County, Stubbs will continue her career throwing for the track and field programs for South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Stubbs was a successful volleyball and basketball player — she scored her 1,000th point this past season playing for her father, Chris Stubbs — but chose track.
“Track is the sport I have the most fun in and it’s kind of a stress relief for me,” Stubbs said. “And there’s a lot of opportunity to improve where as in basketball and volleyball I kind of hit my peak and I didn’t know if I was going to go up from there.”
She will take part in the throwing events for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference school.
So, how did a Platte City kid end up finding a college to attend in South Dakota? A family vacation to Grand Rapids with her dad. When they realized there was a college there, they went to look at it.
“I just fell in love when I got on campus,” said Jaycie Stubbs, who will major in electrical engineering.
Jessalyn Shipp, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology golf
Kasydie Shipp, Southwest Baptist golf
In one of the more memorable signings at the ceremony was this one with the Shipp twins signing and the parents leaving the stage to change from one school’s shirt to another school’s shirt.
Jessalyn chose to play for the Hardrockers because they provided a chance to major in biomedical engineering and have a golf team. Less than a handful of golf programs in the nation checked both boxes for her.
“Part of it was campus size, I really like the smaller portion of it,” said Jessalyn Shipp, who was a four-time all-district and two time state qualifier. “I felt more at home there than I did at the rest of them. It feels like there’s more closeness.”
Jessalyn Shipp broke the school record at PCHS.
Kasydie Shipp will be in a Division II school as well, headed to Bolivar. The Bearcats are a member of the MIAA currently but will be in the Great Lakes Valley Conference when Shipp starts school in the fall.
“The campus is really small and it’s also a Christian-based school,” said Kasydie Shipp, who will study cyber security at SBU. “When I visited, they had a really great community. It’s just everyone is super friendly and you kind of get to know everybody. That is what pulled me to go to that school.”
The two were multiple time state qualifiers and helped the Pirates win three Suburban Conference Blue Division titles. Last year, younger sister, Eden, joined varsity to give coach Trevor Short three of his starting five from one household.
“The Pirates golf family is very excited the commitment that both Jessalyn and Kasydie have made to continue their golfing career at the next level,” Short said. “They both have been great assets to the Platte County golf program for the last four years and have left a lasting legacy that we hope that they can transfer to their new college teams. Both schools will be adding great leaders and highly successful student-athletes to their programs.”
Now, the two older Shipps will start their collegiate careers away for the first time.
“I think it will be a little bit weird not playing together,” Jessalyn Shipp said. “It’s going to be an adjustment but at the same time, I think part of us it’ll be nice because we get to be our own people. But I think, at the same time, it’ll be weird because it’s all we’ve ever known is living together, playing golf together, practicing together. I think it’ll be a learning curve for both of us.”
Nolan Saale, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M wrestling
Saale admitted when he got to Columbia earlier this year for the MSHSAA wrestling championships he believed it would be his last time in a singlet. He started wrestling when he was four and aside from a short break as a fifth grader, wrestling season came in between time playing football and baseball in high school.
One day at lunch, wrestling coach Reggie Burress came up to Saale and asked if he knew much about the junior college in Miami, Okla. — about 30 miles southwest of Joplin, Mo.
The NEO coaches were asking for information about Saale, but before he would do, Burress wanted to make sure Saale was on board with the coaches contacting him.
“The coach texted me and I went on a visit and I enjoyed it,” Saale said. “I really liked the feel of the wrestlers down there. I thought it’d be a really good place for me to go. When the opportunity presented itself, I was like, ‘wow, this is going to be awesome.’”
He joins a program that has a trio of national titles over the past six years and is a contender for the NJCAA title each season.
“I know I’m going to work my butt off this summer and the offseason to get where they want me to be to help the team out,” said Saale, who will wrestle initially at either 145 or 157.
Saale will work to get his general education degree before transferring. He hopes one day to get into aviation.
Spencer Stewart, Baker University football
The Platte County quarterback and Fontana Award Winner will move onto to play at the NAIA level.
Baker was one of many schools to express interest in the gunslinger with a rocket arm that transferred to Platte County last summer. In his only year in the program he guided some miraculous comebacks and a spot in the district finals.
“It was an awesome experience everything that Platte county brings: the energy, the fans, the family atmosphere, the coaches, everything is awesome,” Stewart said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had some great comeback wins that I will remember forever and to win the Fontana Award is a great honor as well.”
Division II William Jewell also expressed interest and a handful of junior colleges.
“I thought Baker was the best opportunity for me to play early and have a successful career after football,” said Stewart, who was an all-state quarterback at Shawnee Mission Northwest prior to moving. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to thrive. Plus, my parents are going to be able to come watch me play. I’m happy where I’m at and see where it takes me. I’m blessed to be able to play football after high school.”
Stewart will likely major in business at the Baldwin City, Kan., school but said he might follow in his dad’s footsteps, who is a lawyer.
Xavier Keith, Butler (Kan.) CC track and field
Platte County’s school record holder in the shot put will compete in that event and others at the Kansas junior college.
Keith signed his scholarship with Butler CC the same week he broke the school’s shot put record that stood since 1962 with a throw of 56 feet at the Kearney Throwers meet.
“I never thought I’d be competing at the next level because I grew up in a rough spot. It’s a really big thing for me,” said Keith, the adopted son of PCHS tennis coach Zach Keith.
‘X’ threw 50 feet as a freshman and missed state by one place but went to Jefferson City as a sophomore and medaled. He will return to state for the third time this spring after not competing for PCHS last spring.
“When I went there (Butler) the coaches treated me with respect and really wanted me there, so I need to go there,” Xavier Keith said.
He will do the shot, discus and hammer throw for the Grizzlies, a NJCAA school in the Jayhawk Conference and located in El Dorado, Kan.
Dalton Riechers, Benedictine baseball
The all-state baseball player will suit up for Benedictine next year, picking the NAIA school in Atchison, Kan., over a number of programs.
Peru State, Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College and Culver-Stockton were also interested in getting Riechers, a Class 5 all-state pick last year.
“They have an amazing facility, the coaches are awesome and they are a really good team,” Riechers said of why he chose the Ravens. “They are really close to home so the family can come watch me anytime they want.”
He will be able to continue his two-way playing status he has now and will be in the same spot as he was for the Pirates — pitching and playing either shortstop or third base.
Isabelle Geddes, Weber State track and field
The all-state hurdler is the latest Division I signee in her family as she will head to Ogden, Utah to compete at Weber State.
Rebekah Geddes was a state champion in the 800 her junior year and then graduated early to attend BYU.
Isabelle will follow a similar path, as the junior will graduate at semester in December and then start her track and field career.
She had Division II offers from Central Missouri and Pittsburg State and drew interest from Missouri State and Utah Valley at the Division I level.
“I really like the coach and the program he runs,” Isabelle Geddes said of Weber State coach Paul Pilkington. “I clicked with the girls on the team and it is close to my family.”
Geddes, who plans to major in graphic design, will run the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles for the Wildcats, a member of the Big Sky Conference.
Madeline Donnelli, Rockhurst soccer
The Pirates defender drew interest from two Kansas City schools — Rockhurst and William Jewell — as well as Division I South Dakota.
“I picked Rockhurst because it is an outstanding school,” Donelli said. “It is the perfect distance from home and it has what I think is the perfect atmosphere for college and it has exactly what I’m looking for academically and athletically.”
Donelli will major in biology at the Jesuit school in Kansas City that competes in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. She plans to attend chiropractic school after getting her degree.
Katelyn Evans, Coe soccer
A recruiting website helped lead Evans to signing with the Division III school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She visited the town and got to learn about the Kohawks program during a visit in December.
“I really just fell in love with the college and the city,” said Evans, a two-time all-conference performer for the Pirates.
She will likely play defense for Coe and will be the third Missourian on the team, but the other two hail from the St. Louis area.
Evans plans to major in elementary education in hopes of teaching after college.
“Teachers are needed everywhere, so I’m really excited for my future,” she said.