Sixty-Plus Students Commit to College Athletics

Sixty-Plus Students Commit to College Athletic Programs
Tascosa Student Athletic Trainers

May 5, 2016 – Upwards of 60 Amarillo ISD student athletes and trainers have signed their letters of intent to participate in athletic programs at regional and state colleges across the country. The mental and physical rigor these student athletes and trainers experience, on and off their respective fields or courts, has prepared them to be both collegiate level athletes and successful undergraduate students.

“I have always felt both excited and proud to see kids from our athletic program go to the next level and be able to play those sports while getting a college education,” AISD Athletic Director Brad Thiessen said. “It is a compliment to our coaches and their programs, but also a public reflection of the work the student has put in, both in the athletic arena and the classroom, to reach the next level of competition.”

Three student trainers from Tascosa High School will attend Odessa College in the fall. These students will pay for little of their schooling next year thanks to athletic scholarship – tuition, fees and partial room and board will be covered by the college.

Lead athletic trainer Brian Mullins is a product of the Odessa College and West Texas A&M University sports medicine programs, and relates to the experiences these young trainers will have in the next few years. “I am excited some of our students are pursuing a sports medicine career. The opportunities are there for those who will put in some effort.”

Mullins also shared, “Our student athletic trainers are taking ownership in the health of Tascosa’s athletes. They are there when the athletes are. They put in just as many hours with the team and feel they are a part of the team. I’m very proud to see their work ethic.”

Senior Talina McCarney is proud of the four years she has spent as a student trainer at Tascosa. Time management and people skills are taught in the training room, beyond the medical and kinesthetic work. “I would describe my experience [in training] as nothing short of passionate discovery. I’m thankful for the scholarship because it allows me to focus on my education without huge student loans looming over my head.”

According to Tascosa Athletic Coordinator Ken Plunk, student trainers are vital components in the athletics machine. “They make sure injury prevention practices are implemented, and treat our athletes with physical therapy. They make sure water is available when athletes are playing and take care of other behind-the-scenes tasks. Tascosa has a top notch student training program, and we are very proud our students are moving onto the collegiate level.”

The National Letter of Intent these student athletes have signed with colleges guarantees they will attend the institution full-time for one academic year, and the institution will provide athletic financial aid for one academic year.

Plunk reinforces the incredible gift these students have been given in receiving scholarships for the talents they have. “I tell these kids not to squander this opportunity – to go in with an understanding of what college is about. I want them to go into this because they love their sport and want to continue being part of a team. Their education should be from both the classes and the team.”

Students interested in eventually signing letters of intent should focus on both their academic and athletic skillsets. Plunk said each athletic recruitment season is different – with some sports like volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball played in continuation at the club level, and others only played in school. College recruiters now have the ability to watch play videos of students across the country, by simply subscribing to the same service coaches upload game videos to.

Plunk wants every student to understand, “Universities now make it a point that if a prospective student is physically what they are looking for, and can handle the academic environment, they want the student to visit their campus sometime their junior or senior year.”

For a complete listing of student athletes and where they have signed to participate in athletic programs, please visit Amarillo ISD College Athletics Signees. More student athletes will be added to this list as their college intentions are announced.

National Letter of Intent:

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