Canyon baseball player Shawnn Adams felt a sense of relief come over him after signing his National Letter of Intent to play for baseball for Sterling College in Kansas in front of friends and family at Canyon High School’s signing day ceremony.
“It feels amazing because you don’t have to focus on picking a school anymore,” Adams said. “You just have to focus on your grades, staying in shape and progressing in the game of baseball. It’s just a huge stress and anxiety reliever for me and my family.”
Adams is one of seven Canyon and Hart High School student-athletes that signed their NLIs to play baseball, football and track and field at the next level on Wednesday.
Adams, who appeared in 14 games for the Cowboys last season, signed on to pitch and play first base at Sterling in the fall. He wants to set himself apart from the rest of the Foothill League and head into his college debut with some confidence.
Thanks to second-year head coach Justin Stark, Adams learned a new way to pitch and will play some reliever at Canyon with his newly-learned skills.
“I hope to add a big power bat and the ability to be a defensive utility for the first base position and be able to be the guy that people want in a situation when it comes down to the wire,” Adams said.
Adams’ teammate, Tyler DeYoung heads to Hawaii-Pacific University in the fall after finishing his junior season with a .311 batting average for 23 hits, eight RBIs, eight doubles and one home run in 74 at-bats.
DeYoung ranked fourth on the team, with a minimum of 23 games played, and 16th in the Foothill League in batting average.
Canyon’s track and field athlete and pole vaulter Paul Coleman will keep his talents local, signing with The Master’s University’s track and field team.
Taking ninth place in the Simi Valley All-Comers Meet No. 1 on Jan. 11 with a vault of 11 feet, Coleman set a new personal record three weeks at the Simi-Valley All-Comers Meet No. 3 Winter Qualifiers with a jump of 12-foot-3.
Hart girls basketball player Emma Allen will join Coleman at TMU, signing to play for the women’s basketball program. Allen is a two-year varsity player and finished her junior season second one the team in scoring (8.4 points per game), first in rebounds (8.6 rebounds per game) and first in assists (4.4 assists per game).
Allen is coming off a double-double performance in Tuesday’s 60-38 win over West Ranch where she finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals and five assists.
Indians baseball pitcher Warner Rhodes also stays in California but moves about an hour and a half drive south to Chapman University in the city of Orange.
In 12 appearances last season, Rhodes struck out 31 batters and averaged a little over a strikeout per inning (1.3) on his way to a 2.29 ERA. Rhodes struck out seven batters in a game against Valencia and finished the season with eight games with multiple strikeouts.
Two All-Foothill League and All-SCV football selections will be strapping up their football cleats and pads up in college, as Canyon defensive lineman Evan Cox continues his journey in Oregon playing for Linfield College and Hart receiver/cornerback combo Ashton Thomas at Azusa Pacific University.
An All-SCV First teamer, Cox was the Foothill League leader with 19 sacks, second in the league with 105 tackles and had two fumble recoveries in 11 games played in his senior season for the Cowboys.
Thomas was special on both sides of the ball splitting time between wide receiver and cornerback for the Indians during his senior season. His hard work and God-given natural abilities made him an All-Foothill League First Team Offense selection catching 84 passes for 1,119 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
Thomas will exclusively be playing cornerback for the Cougars after finishing his senior season with three interceptions and six pass deflections.
“I feel like that’s all God, right there,” Thomas said. “The instincts that allow me to make a play on the ball and just being gifted comes from God. The hard work that my uncle and I put in over the summer. Early morning workouts, seven-on-sevens and then training again after seven-on-sevens. All that hard work paid off and came to fruition.
“Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.”