On Wednesday, February 3, Jacksonville High School held a college signing day where eight student athletes chose where they would continue their academic and athletic careers. Three members of Jacksonville’s girls’ soccer team signed scholarships, with Madi Allen and Sarah James each choosing to play for the Trojans of Hannibal-LaGrange University, a member of the America Midwest Conference for athletics. Claire Cody, another former member of the JHS girls’ soccer team, signed with Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), which competes as an NCAA Division II school and member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
As for the boys, Mark Wilson, one of the dominant defenders on the Crimsons’ soccer team, signed a letter of intent to play for Bradley University, one of the best soccer programs among colleges in Illinois. Bradley competes as an NCAA Division I program in the Missouri Valley Conference. In addition to Jacksonville’s soccer stars, four members of the Crimsons’ football team also signed letters of intent, starting with wide receiver Noah Pickens, who decided to keep it local and attend Illinois College. Also staying in town next fall will be Jacksonville running back Matt Rooney will look for continued success as a Highlander at MacMurray College. Rooney’s former backfield counterpart, Joe Brannan, accepted a scholarship from Northwest Missouri State University, a football program that’s claimed 3 NCAA Division II national championships over the past 7 years and 5 titles in the past 18, including their most recent championship coming last fall. Braxton Criss, whose football talents are utilized on the defensive side of the ball, has chosen to continue his career at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. The St. Ambrose Fighting Bees – in my opinion one of the best mascots in the world – compete as members of The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the largest conference in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).