NORTH POLE, AK-It's always good to see high schoolers progress and make important decisions regarding their promising futures.
Today three North Pole athletes signed national letters of intent. In the Patriots library flanked by their parents the three Ws. Laura Wolfe, Ashley Wilkes and Ryan Wicklund signed the papers.
Wilkes, a North Pole goalie will go East to the University of New Hampshire. The Wildcats, located in Durham, NH, are a division one Hockey East conference member with two Frozen Four appearances in 06' and 08' led by 11 year head coach Brian McCloskey. The Wildcats had a 10-8-3 conference record and they had a 9-7-1 record which was better than their home record. Wilkes had interests from Providence, University of Boston and other schools.
Wolfe, the Patriots midfielder, will head to Southwestern Oregon Community College for soccer. Wolfe and head coach Allan Ledesma if SWOCC had a mutual interest as both communicated about Wolfe being a part of the Lakers. The Lakers soccer team had 14 players on their roster last season and Ledesma has long coaching history of local high school and clup teams in the Oregon area. Wolfe joins Callie Franz who also signed to SWOCC for basketball.
Last but not least Wicklund signed to play football with Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The Patriots middle linebacker and fullback will be a part of something new. The Saints had their first season of division three football last fall finishing with a 3-7 record. Andy Carr is the head coach and help start of the football program at Presentation. Dom Anderson, a West Valley product and North Pole native is also a part of the Saints football team.
All three signees say the family atmospheres of their colleges were key factors in their decisions.
"Seems like a family and stuff and you know I don't want to be going to a school where the girls are all caddy and stuff. Like, I want it to be a real team and not just like a whole bunch of girls getting together just to play soccer but to actually want to be there. I don't if I could just go to college without playing a sport. It gives me the incentive to do good in college," Wolfe said.
"It was like the perfect size school for me and they have the program I want to get into and I was offered a starting position next year. I met the girls and they're all super fun and [I] just like the competitiveness between each other is really good but they have a strong sense of like, family," Wilkes said.
Wicklund likes to embrace the underdog role with his new team. The Saints were the only program actively pursuing Wicklund.
"Close community. Close sense of family. You know it's a small program so there's always going to be a challenge to win. I like that. I don't like being a powerhouse school, [I] like the small man you know, being able to battle for the championship," Wicklund said.