It may lack the star power of the fall class of 2007 or the winter of 2009, but this fall's class of college signees is Northern Nevada's largest in six years.
Twenty-three area athletes are expected to sign a letter of intent to a four-year school between today and Nov. 21, the NCAA's early signing period. Twenty of those could do so today in a number of ceremonies.
"I'm really honored to get to do it," said Reed's Mark Nowaczewski, who will take a break of preparing for Friday's Division I North region football final to sign with Nevada for baseball. "Baseball is one of my biggest passions in life and it's a good feeling to say I get to play college baseball."
Douglas boys basketball player Hunter Myers and Reno High baseball player Garrett Hampson highlight this class. They're not quite the headliners Luke Babbitt and Olek Czyz were in 2007, or that Kyle Van Noy and Duke Williams were in Feb. 2009.
But Myers and Hampson have plenty of depth behind them. In all, six basketball players, five softball players, four baseball players, two volleyball players, two wrestlers, two swimmers, a distance runner and a gymnast are expected to sign in the next week.
The class of 23 is four more than in 2007 and 10 more than in 2009. There were 12 signees for the 2008 early period and just eight last year.
Myers chose Harvard over offers from nearly 20 big-time programs. His final six included Stanford, Cal, Leigh, Princeton and Santa Barbara in addition to the Crimson.
"I just loved being on the campus. It felt homey and I felt very comfortable there and with the other guys on the team," Myers said of his official visit to Harvard. "It's amazing to look back and be able to go through this process," Myers said. "But to have it over with is a little weight lifted off my shoulders. I wanted to get it over with before the season started so I can just play."
Pershing County's Sarita Jo Condie (Navy), Reno's Gigi Hascheff (Sacramento State), Spanish Springs Riley Holladay (CSU Stanislaus) and Bishop Manogue's Emma Briggs (Menlo College) also will sign.
Traditionally a deep sport for the area, softball has just one Division I signee this year. Spanish Springs' left-handed pitcher Brette Lawrence will sign with Villanova. Reed outfielder Mary Dettling (St. Martin University) and Manogue catcher Jocelyn Young (Hope International University) also will sign today.
Galena shortstop Shannon Wessel and Spanish Springs outfielder Kelsey Stroshine will sign with Whitworth College.
Hampson will sign with tradition-laden Long Beach State, one of the West Coast's perennial powers, as a shortstop and Nowaczewski with Nevada as a right-handed pitcher, while Manogue outfielder M.J. Farthing (Kansas) and Damonte Ranch catcher Nate Nolan (St. Mary's College) also will sign.
Spanish Springs' setter Lyndsey Anderson, fresh off the Cougars' state championship on Saturday, will sign with Nevada and Manogue outside hitter Morgan Carlson will sign with Texas A&M-San Antonio.
Three-time state champion Joey Lavallee will sign with Missouri and Manogue's Willy McDonald will join older brother Ricky at Brown.
More to come
Manogue girls basketball player Gabbi Concepcion still is considering Concordia University and Whitman, her father JoJo said. He hopes a decision will be made this week.
Reed track athlete Adrianna Newell will wait until February to sign, Raiders coach Dale Moss said. Newell took an official visit to Arizona State and has varying offers from Nevada, Cal, Kansas, Washington State and Missouri among others.
Reno girls basketball player Shalen Shaw, still just a junior, recently gave a verbal commitment to Boise State. Verbal commitments are nonbinding.
The regular signing period for football, soccer and track starts Feb. 6.