RIVERSIDE, Mo. — A packed auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 8 at Park Hill South High School witnessed several Panthers athletes sign on to further their athletic and academic careers.
The ceremony which was held the day after National Signing Day saw a dozen athletes ink their commitments to their respective colleges.
Headlining the signings were four NCAA Division I signees: Ben Becker (football, South Alabama), Paige Reikhof (swimming, Kansas), Emma Roth (Cross Country and Track and Field, Missouri) and Annika Welty (volleyball, Creighton).
Becker joined the fledgling Jaguars football program which began in 2009 and has already appeared in two bowl games. Becker, an offensive lineman is a two-time All-Simone team member as a lineman and was picked to the Class 5 All-State teams by the coaches and media as a junior and senior.
South’s athletic director John Carr read off Riekhof’s accomplishments at the ceremony which included 16-time conference champion and 12-time all-state finisher. That list is incomplete as Riekhof will compete in four events at the Class 2 Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships set for this Friday and Saturday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
“I have to order a new all-state plaque for Paige every year,” Carr joked with the audience.
Roth was the top finisher for the Panthers on the Class 4 Girls Cross Country State Championship team this fall, finishing seventh. Roth is a four-time all-state finisher in cross country; she also claimed all state honors in the 800 meter run as a junior in the spring track season, finishing fifth.
Welty signed with Creighton after being named the KC Metro’s top volleyball player, winning the Evelyn Gates award, after finishing as a finalist as a junior. Welty has long been committed to play for the Blue Jays, signaling her verbal commitment after attending a match in 2016. The ceremony made her choice official for the perennial NCAA tournament qualifiers official.
“I’m excited to have a new team and to meet new people,” Welty said. “Playing good volleyball, too, I’m excited for that. The expectations make it a lot more fun. I’m excited to be competitive and get our name out there more.”
The rest of the signees included Raquel Reid (basketball, Missouri Valley) – Carr spoke highly of the senior after she earned all-conference honors as a sophomore, knee injuries have kept her on the sidelines her entire junior season and she suffered another setback in the first round of the Oak Park Invitational in January – Ewan Fricke (cross country, Colby College), Lia Fricke (soccer, Washburn), Eli Guzman (cross country, Webster), Isaiah McGilchrist, (soccer, Park), Zach Nay (soccer, Truman State), Abby Norris (tennis, Texas Wesleyan), Dominick Scudiero (baseball, Coffeyville CC) and Ryanne Serrone, soccer, Washburn).