Eau Claire (WQOW) -- While many area athletes signed their college letters intent on Wednesday, Eau Claire Memorial and Eau Claire North hold their signing ceremonies one day later.
Six Old Abes make their college decisions official, including four members of Memorial's baseball team. Jack Brown and Austin Selz sign with Division II programs, while Zach Gustafson and Tanner Kohlhepp are on their way to the Division I level.
Kohlhepp, a pitcher/infielder, originally made a verbal commitment to Arkansas, but decommitted over the summer when Razorbacks assistant coach Tony Vitello took the head coaching job at Tennessee. Kohlhepp has high hopes for his career with the Volunteers. "Just looking forward to being able to get down there and compete," Kohlhepp says, "and just help Tennessee win the SEC and get to Omaha is the ultimate goal."
Gustafson, another pitcher, signs with East Carolina, after also considering Creighton, Valparaiso, Wofford, and Dartmouth. He says he was sold on the Pirates program after a visit to the school. "Pedigree of all the coaches, they're all very professional," Gustafson says, "Coach [Cliff] Godwin, he loves the program, he played there himself and he's just done a great job."
Selz, another pitcher, considered Augustana and Minnesota-Duluth before choosing Minot State after a visit, and being impressed with Beavers head coach Scott Eul. Selz is also happy to share the signing day moment with his teammates.
"It's exceptionally cool," says Selz, "growing up especially with the three other baseball players, we've been playing together ever since we were little and just now, this moment culminating here is really cool."
Also signing at Memorial are Jada Biermeier, who'll play women's basketball at Division III St. Mary's University, along with diver Olivia Pasch, who's on her way to Division I UW-Green Bay.
"I know that a lot of seniors are graduating from Green Bay next year," says Pasch, "and hopefully, I'll be able to step up to the plate and fill in their spots when they leave."
"I really like their offense that they run and it's a lot similar to what I've been running already," says Biermeier, who also considered St. Thomas & UW-River Falls, "and they've kind of said how I'd fit into their offense."
At Eau Claire North, two Huskies all-around athletes sign their letters of intent. Brooklyn Becker, who plays volleyball, basketball, and softball at North, signs to play basketball at Viterbo University. Ryan Venne, who played football, hockey, and baseball at North, signs his baseball letter of intent with Division II Lindenwood University, located in St. Charles, Missouri.
"They have a great campus, great facilities, the coaches are very knowledgeable of the game," says Venne, "their team has been successful over the past few years, and I'll be able to compete right away and possibly be a go to guy."
"Viterbo just provides a really good nursing program which I'm planning on going into," Becker says, "and also I just really like the community and I thought I fit really in with the team."