McPherson High School hosted one of the three National Signing Period on Wednesday after school. Five girls made it official for volleyball, basketball and tennis. Here's what you missed.

Small-town vibes

Cassie Cooks made it official as she signed her letter of intent to play volleyball at Graceland University. Graceland is located in Lamoni, Iowa, and is part of the Heart of America. Other than living in a small-town environment, in which is she accustomed to, Cook believed Graceland was the right fit for the senior after she made her visit.

"I was born in a small town, and McPherson is not as big as others, so I'm normally around the small atmosphere, and I fitted perfectly in Graceland," Cooks said. "It was perfectly my size, and I fell in love with it."

While volleyball, she plans to study the pre-chiropractic.

Cooks received numerous honors as a three-year starter, including this season after being named first-team All-AVCTL Division III. Last Summer Cooks was named "Best Leader" in volleyball camp at Washburn University.

"Cassie's explosive swings and vocal leadership are known across the state of Kansas," McPherson's volleyball coach Christy Doile said. said. "I'm excited for Cassie to take her love for volleyball to her new state of Iowa, where she will compete and continue her education at Graceland University."

Before Cooks moves on to another state, she will be traveling overseas to play summer volleyball in Spain.

"I'm very excited," Cooks said. "It's going to be a new experience for me, definitely. It's going to be another great opportunity that I was given to go do."


Bruce signs to Fort Hays State

Taylor Bruce's final year with McPherson tennis couldn't end more perfectly. After winning the Class 5A State Championship in doubles with a 35-0 record, alongside her partner CeAnna Allen, she will make her transition to the next level when she plays tennis for Fort Hays State University.

Bruce, a four-year state qualifier, caught the attention of Fort Hays coach Brian Flax during the Hesston Invitational. He liked what he saw in Bruce.

"He came and watched me in our very first tournament in Hesston, which it isn't very competitive," Bruce said. "So for him to come to watch me there meant a lot. When I went on to visit, he was just helpful, showing me everywhere that where we will be, and I even met up with some of the teammates there."

Bruce won't be alone as a McPherson native as Ellea Ediger is also in the Tigers' roster. Both have been communicating throughout the recruiting process.

"She said she really likes it, and she's really glad that's where she went," Bruce said about Ediger.

It is still surreal for Bruce to finish her senior year undefeated. She and Allen also earned a spot in the Wall of Fame.

"Friday night when we were playing Andover, I thought it wasn't going to end well for me, and when I looked at CeAnna (Allen), I told her we just have to push through and win, and we did," Bruce said. "I'm glad we did. It feels good to be 35-0."

Bruce holds a 3.5 GPA and plans on studying nursing when she enrolls.

McPherson-MIAA connection

There is no question that McPherson has ties to the MIAA conference, mostly Fort Hays State and Washburn University.

Emma Ruddle will also be joining Bruce at Fort Hays, but for basketball. She will also be studying nursing while attending. Ruddle enjoyed the relationship he had with Tigers' coach Tommy Hobson. She also valued the system he runs in his program, which factored in her decision.

"I'm super excited. I really like him I went there for the first time, and there was something about him that was so exciting," Ruddle said. "I think its because he kind of seems like my grandpa is what my mom told me. She said they are kind of alike. That's why I kind of bonded with him a little bit. He seems like a regular guy you just hang out with."

Washburn will have two Bullpups instead of one joining the women's basketball team. Lakyn Schiefererecke and Andrea Sweat both made it official and are looking forward to being teammates once more after being childhood friends.

"It's awesome," Sweat said. "I think having a familiar face and her being on my team since we were super-little is going to be a lot of fun."

What also played a role in the two's decision was the help from assistant coach and former McPherson grad Brette Herber. Herber communicated with both Schiefererecke and Sweat during their recruiting process, and it all gave the two another reason to become future Ichabods.

"I talk to Brette a lot. I wasn't able to play my last summer, but I was already committed at that time," Schiefererecke said. "She texted me and called me, and I went up there for a few visits and saw a couple of games."

While Ruddle, Schiefererecke, and Sweat will cross path when Washburn faces Fort Hays in during conference play, they also will continue to build a pipeline of McPherson athletes playing in the MIAA conference.

"I think everyone in our team going to MIAA shows incredible the league it is," Sweat said. "The conference is just really good, and I think it will be a lot of fun."

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_