Luther, OK – Five Luther High School seniors signed letters of intent to continue their sport at the college level. In a ceremony Tuesday that brought together students, parents, grandparents, coaches and fans, Syrus Grisby and Caitlin Bailey signed to play basketball at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. Jessica Maddera and DaNeysha Hines signed to cheer at Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, and Sasha Wilson signed to continue to the track team, also at Southwestern.
“This day was honestly something I have dreamed of since I was in first grade. To finally sign and be on an amazing team is a dream come true,” said Hines.
Hines credited her coaches for the honor. “I would love to thank (Coach) Mrs. Meek for pushing me to the limit during my freshman year, and showing me how good I could truly be. And another thanks to (Cheer Coaches) Dawn and Carly Wilson for helping me through my journey and giving me the extra support I needed,” she said.
Snacks and Gas Money
Parent Aimee Maddera loved seeing younger athletes attend the signing and she said she hopes the occasion inspires them to work hard in school and in whatever sport they love. “I could not be more proud of Jessica! She’s wanted to be a cheerleader since she was a toddler. To see her earn a scholarship doing something she loves fills my heart,” said Aimee Maddera.
Mrs. Maddera also describes the process of choosing a college. “Jessica went to a college combine in Owasso in January. She had nine schools reach out wanting her to cheer for them. We went on several campus tours and open gym days. Her heart was set on SCU,” she said. Jessica Maddera, along with Wilson are valedictorians for the 2019 class, and Bailey is salutatorian.
Wilson is the reigning 2A Shot Put champion, looking to repeat at state before her graduation. “Signing with SCU to carry out my talent is something I’m extremely proud of; the opportunity is such a blessing and for me to do something that I love at the collegiate level is amazing,” she said.
“Throwing has always been my favorite sport, it’s you against yourself and that gives me a rush,” said Wilson. She said it has indeed been a big goal to further her athletic career in college, and make her mom proud.
Talents to Tonkawa
NOC Men’s Head Basketball Coach Donnie Johnson was in the Laverne Veasy Performing Arts auditorium to watch Grisby seal the deal to become a Mav.
“We are very excited. We spent a lot of time recruiting Syrus to the team and can’t wait to see what he does,” said Coach Johnson. “He will be important to our team and will make an immediate impact, and you can’t say that about a lot of freshmen.”
Johnson added that Grisby is a great kid and joked that being from Luther, he will make the most of small town life in his new college in the small town of Tonkawa.
In congratulating the students, Luther High School Principal and Athletic Director Shawn Meek also thanked parents, coaches and family members for supporting their athletes; and told the signing five that their special day wouldn’t be possible without those who had invested in them. He encouraged them to pay it forward to the next generation. The signees’ coaches include Johnny Vick and Carrie Schwartz, girls basketball; Stan Higdon and Terrance Artrip, track and shot put; Matt Jones and Sean Lowell, boys basketball; and, Dawn Wilson and Carly Wilson, cheer.
Lady Mavs Head Coach Greg Krause told The Luther Register that Bailey will add to the team as a shooting guard with a great three-point range. “We are impressed with her aggressiveness, which is a trait of Coach Vick’s program. She is a good shooter who is willing to look for her shot.”
Bailey, also a pole vault standout, led her basketball team to the Lady Lions first state tournament appearance in almost 60 years.
Even though the hour and a half drive to Tonkawa and an away schedule with games in New Mexico, Kansas and all over Oklahoma will be a bit of a scheduling challenge for Luther fans, Coach Krause says the school updates its website and livestreams games.
And even though Bethany is closer to Luther, Southwestern also has an up-to-date athletics page and livestream schedule to follow the cheer and track teams.
Once A Lion, Always a Lion
With a bit of advice for other Lions parents, Aimee Maddera says “love the goals of your children. Be there for the ups and downs. Support their choices. And, bring snacks and gas money. You’ll need both to support the student athletes!”
In Luther, we say it’s a “great day to be a Lion,” and alumni proudly proclaim “once a Lion, always a Lion.” These athletes will always be Lions, and now Eagles and Mavericks.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Luther Register is looking for advertising and reader financial support to continue sports coverage. We are also scouting for a new LION REPORTER/PHOTOGRAPHER. Contact [email protected] for information. Thanks.