Wednesday was a landmark day in the history of St. Croix Central athletics.
Ten Central seniors announced their intentions to attend colleges where they will compete in a wide variety of athletics. While no records have been kept, the Class of 2019 appears to be putting more athletes into collegiate sports than any other previous class at Central.
St. Croix Central athletic director Jason Koele said he expects that there will be more Panther seniors who will announce their college athletic intentions during the next college signing period.
Koele said this is the start of an effort to chronicle where SCC students extend their athletic careers at the collegiate level. The event on national signing day highlighted the combination of academic and athletic success the Panthers are seeing. Koele said that past signings have only been done for athletes headed to Division 1 or Division 2 college programs, but he said athletes going to smaller college programs deserve the same level of attention, because they are making the same level of commitment, academically and athletically.
Koele said he’s never seen one high school produce as many students who are going to compete collegiately as Central’s Class of 2019. He also marveled at the wide range of sports, with the Panthers sending athletes to college in nearly every varsity sport. They range from football to equestrian, along with volleyball, basketball, baseball, track and cross country.
The Panthers have placed several athletes at the college over the past few years and Koele said he hopes this is a pattern the athletic programs can build upon.
“Just like academics, we’re increasing the rigor and making it the standard,” Koele said.