County seniors celebrate college signings

Submitted photos

With only a few days left in the school year and graduation ceremonies taking place, county seniors are moving on to the next step of their lives.
For several athletes, they’ll continue their playing days at the collegiate level. Over recent months, each public school has celebrated multiple signings.
Back in early February, National Signing Day saw a handful of locals put pen to paper, with Springstead senior Samantha Betters accepting a Division I scholarship from the University of Florida.
Central football had four signings, including wide receiver Manny Scott and offensive lineman Trevon Lincoln heading to Central Connecticut State University, a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program. Linebacker Albon Jones (Dodge City Community College in Kansas) and offensive lineman Ethan Supik (Division III Adrian College in Michigan) also signed from the Bears.
Hernando defensive lineman Tyson Libengood (Division II Nebraska-Kearney) and soccer goalkeeper Caitlynn Nixon (Division II Southern Wesleyan University in South Carolina) additionally inked that day.
But those were far from the only signings across numerous sports, and others could still find a landing spot over the course of the summer.
Nature Coast shortstop Mare Sparacia will play Division I softball, having signed with UMass Lowell out of the America East Conference. This past season for the regional finalist Lady Sharks, she hit .439 with 28 runs batted in and 26 runs scored in 30 games.
Among her teammates, sisters Alyssa and Chyloe Gonzalez have signed with Hillsborough Community College. Left fielder Brittney Rodriguez (State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota) signed, as well.
Nature Coast had two soccer players sign with Saint Leo University, Morgan Vraspir on the boys side and Chelsea Reid for the girls. In baseball, center fielder Mason Stacy will play for Division II Glenville State College in West Virginia.Central's Chase Steadman, third from left, signs to play soccer at NAIA Presentation College in South Dakota. Submitted photo
At Central, state-qualifying cross country runner Kylyn Burbine will continue running at Pasco-Hernando State College, Chase Steadman signed to play soccer at NAIA Presentation College in South Dakota, plus a pair of softball players are college bound, pitcher Kaeleen Koehler (Pensacola State College) and catcher Marriah Adams (NAIA Thomas University in Georgia).
Thomas University was also the destination for a couple of Hernando baseball pitchers, Elijah Ramirez and Travis Ritter. Right fielder Tyler Skipper signed with NAIA Southeastern University in Lakeland.Hernando right fielder Tyler Skipper celebrates his signing with NAIA Southeastern University in Lakeland with family and coaches. Submitted photo
Two other Leopards, linebacker Austin Sternberger and lineman Rylee Cheek, both accepted a scholarship from Division II Shorter University in Georgia.Seated from left, Hernando pitchers Elijah Ramirez and Travis Ritter sign with NAIA Thomas University in Georgia. Submitted photo
Joining Betters as signees from Springstead were basketball player Alyssa Clifton (Division II Tusculumn College in Tennessee), linebacker Jose Ramos (JUCO Dean College in Massachusetts), distance runner Alyssa Menendez (NAIA Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale), and volleyball players Jordan McIntyre (NAIA Webber International) and Alexis Sunderland (Division III Salem College in North Carolina).
Weeki Wachee’s Morgan Hnatiuk signed to play volleyball at Division II Mars Hill University and wide receiver Jake Wilson signed with NAIA Lyon College in Arkansas.
Several other county football players are preferred walk-ons, including Weeki Wachee running back Shawn O’Gorman (Florida International) and safety Donte Young (UTEP), and Nature Coast offensive lineman Cass Cole (Division II Valdosta State in Georgia) and Cameron Syblis (Florida Atlantic).
Preferred walk-ons from Springstead are cross country runners Allen Keister (Saint Leo) and Joy Jackson (USF), as well as football player Hunter Hramika (USF) and basketball player Mike Flores (PHSC).
Nature Coast running back DeShawn Smith, who led the nation in rushing and scoring, had signed with Division I Savannah State in Georgia. Following an arrest on burglary charges last month, his situation remains uncertain.
Follow Chris Bernhardt Jr. on Twitter @cpbernhardtjr.

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