KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just a few feet away from each other, two Park Hill seniors signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers.
In the foyer of the Park Hill High School practice gymnasium, Alison Walls signed to play soccer at Division I Drake, while Addison Devers signed with Division III Benedictine University to play lacrosse.
Walls had plenty of options to play at the Division I level next year, drawing interest from Missouri, Kansas State, TCU, Northwestern and Creighton to name a few.
At one point, TCU was the front runner but the Des Moines, Iowa school moved to the forefront.
“I felt it was a perfect fit for me,” said Walls, who will play forward for the Missouri Valley Conference school. “I love the program and the girls and it is such a phenomenal school.
“I wanted to go to Drake because they are a mid-major and they are good, but also because I wanted a place I could get a lot of playing time and leave my mark on the program.”
In each of the past three springs she has helped the Trojans reach the Class 4 quarterfinals, while leading Park Hill to two conference championships.
The past three years she has scored 17 goals, 27 and 17 goals, respectively, while dishing out a total of 31 assists. A three-time all-conference pick and conference offensive player of the year, she earned all-state accolades last year.
Walls, who also played basketball at Park Hill as a freshman and junior season, plays club soccer for Sporting Blue Valley.
The senior overcame a torn ACL during high school, which took about eight months to rehab.
The injury occurred in a game against rival Park Hill South in the spring of 2016. She initially didn’t know the extent of the injury. After sitting out one game, she came back into the lineup in the following game. She learned later she had torn her ACL which required the lengthy rehab.
The journey back wasn’t easy and it included quite a few tears after practice at first.
“I didn’t feel the same,” said Walls, who mentioned crying at the end of practices. “It was a challenge. I think it is one of the best things to happen. I learned a lot about myself and I got better at soccer.”
Walls expects to major in health science at Drake.
Devers, who is on the Trojans’ basketball roster, got involved playing lacrosse as a sixth grader.
Her older brother played and when a girls team was started she was one of the first ones involved. By her freshman year, she was traveling and got more invested in the sport.
“I like lacrosse, it is really fast paced and you score a lot and really often,” Devers said. “It is really fun.”
Her travel competition took her to the Chicago area often and that is where Kaitlyn Liccion, the coach at Benedictine University — not be confused with the college in Atchison, Kan. — saw her play. The two talked and that led to a visit to the Lisle, Ill., school.
Devers also drew interest from Rockhurst locally, but she mainly drew interest from schools in the Chicago area.
She expects to major in exercise science and sports medicine at the school.