RIVERSIDE, Mo. — The signing class for Park Hill South student-athletes grew during a recent ceremony held at the high school.
On Wednesday, April 11, six students signed to play sports at the next level, with athletic director John Carr reading information about each one.
The football team had two sign, baseball had three, while Abby Norris made her signing official after not being part of the ceremony in February.
Norris will play tennis for Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth, Texas, an NAIA school.
The draw to play in a big city sold Norris on joining the Rams, over offers from Kansas NAIA schools Ottawa, Baker and McPherson.
“It is in a really big town and it is near Dallas,” said Norris, who started playing the sport at the age of 11. “It is a small school in a big city. That set them apart. I looked at others but they were in small towns and seculded. I’m 15 minutes from TCU, which is a huge school. There will always be stuff to do and the people are real nice. The girls are nice and I really like the coach.
“I’m excited and nervous. It is eight hours away but only an hour plane flight so I could fly home when I need to. I could get away a little bit but still come home a little bit. Plus, it is down south and the weather will be nice … no more snow.”
A state qualifier and three-time all-conference and all-district pick, Norris will be playing tournaments throughout the summer at Overland Park Racquet Club.
Stevenson is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by going to a historically black college/university.
The second baseman for the Panthers will head to Baton Rogue, La., to play for the Jaguars, a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
“I’m excited, I always wanted to go to Baton Rogue,” said Stevenson, who will play middle infield for Southern. “I’m really blessed to go.”
A two-time all-conference pick, Stevenson had offers from Kansas State and Missouri State, while Kansas showed interest but ran out of scholarship money for this recruiting class.
Stevenson will be the only Missourian on the roster, as far as players go, but head coach Kerrick Jackson is a St. Louis native who played junior college ball at St. Louis Community College-Meramec before finishing at Nebraska. He also was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Missouri.
The Panthers catcher will head to Poteau, Okla., to play junior college baseball for the Vikings.
“The coach said it is a good hitting school and a good academic school,” Davis said. “They will help me get out of there. That is what I liked.”
Davis’ ultimate goal is to head to a Division I program.
He had a few other offers on the table – Rockhurst, Park, Maple Woods and Allen County to name a few.
“I wanted to get away and wanted to go down south,” Davis said. “My coach (Tyler Guthrie) is telling me that is where good baseball is.”
The 6-foot-2 right-handed pitcher is hoping he will be one of the next pitching prospects to leave Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., and head to a Division I team — or maybe even the pros.
He will join a program that has been ranked in the top 25 nationally at the junior college level in recent years and has been a boon for prospects hoping to move on.
This year’s sophomore class, so far, has two Division I signees, including Park Hill’s Aaron Ashby who is headed to Tennessee. The 2017 and 2016 teams had a combined 15 Division I signees and two that landed pro contracts.
“I like the opportunity gives me,” Brougham said of going to Crowder. “I like the worth ethic they have. There is a lot of weight room stuff and hopefuly some good playing time and a chance to the go to the next level.
“It is exciting and the potential growth from there is really good.”
Brougham, an all-conference pick, plays summer baseball for the Maple Wood Monarchs.
“They are all great kids and great leader,” Park Hill South coach Josh Walker said of the signing class, which includes Dominic Scudiero, who signed earlier with Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
The program has had less than 10 Division I signees in the school history and that will grow next year when Sam Beurelein signs with Georgetown, where the junior recently committed.
The Panthers teammates will continue to play together when they head to Atchsion, Kan., this fall.
Chandler-Gilliand will play wide receiver and Personelli will kick for the Ravens, an NAIA school in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
The duo will join a 2018 roster for BC that features former teammates Shaefer Schutez, William Ehrenberg, Aiden Boyd and Jordan Bell.
“It is a great opportunity for them to stay together,” Park Hill South coach Mike Sharp said. “We already got Panthers there and this is almost a mini home for them. It is good for them. Benedictine does a fantastic job and we are excited for them to continue to play and live the dream for a while.”
The duo join Ben Becker as part of the football signing class. Becker signed with South Alabama in February.
Chandler-Gilliland was the Park Hill South receiver of the year and was an all-conference pick this past fall.
“I really like the campus overall and the football program, I feel, is a good fit to continue my football career there,” he said. “And one of my good friends, Stephen, is going there too.”
Chandler-Gilliland, who also drew interest from the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, Kan., said he was drawn into the college as well by coach Larry Wilcox, who has been the head coach since 1979.
“He reminds me of my grandpa,” Chandler-Gilliland said. “He is a family man, he loves you, he will take care of you and make you a better man.”
Personelli will be a kicker for the Ravens, but will also try to walk-on to the baseball program.
“All of the other visits I went on, I didn’t have any interaction and when I was at BC, people would come up and talk to me and tell he about how the great the school was,” Personelli said. “It is kind of far away so I felt independent, but it is close enough I can drive home and do my laundry.”
Personelli, a two-time all-conference pick, drew interest from fellow HAAC schools Missouri Valley and Central Methodist.