Signing day includes two area D-I recruits
Roaring Fork High School’s Trae Moxley is officially signed up to stay a Ram, Colorado State Rams football that is, while Glenwood Springs soccer standout Lilly McSwain is set to be a University of Denver Pioneer.
Moxley and McSwain were the only two area NCAA Division I college recruits to sign commitment letters on national signing day Wednesday.
In addition, Glenwood Springs High’s Jaclyn Knott signed to play soccer with the Colorado School of Mines, one of the best Division II women’s soccer programs in the country.
Two other area prep football standouts, Glenwood’s Logan Holmberg and Grand Valley’s Tanner Zimmerman, signed to play for the Division III Colorado Mesa University Mavericks in Grand Junction.
The quintet joined high school student-athletes from across the country in committing to play college sports on athletic scholarships on Wednesday.
Another sought-after football recruit from the area, Rifle High School running back Ryan Moeller, was still deciding between several possible college programs to sign with. He was expected to make a decision later this week.
Moxley, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound multi-position player during his four years at Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High, is one of the top in-state recruits at the tight-end position.
The University of Colorado also gave him a look, but Moxley said the Buffaloes wanted him to play at the offensive tackle position.
“CSU definitely wants me to be a tight end. It just ended up being a better fit for me,” Moxley said.
“We’ve been talking for a little while with the coaches, and I’ve visited the campus for football camps,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing, honestly, to know it’s official and that’s where I’m going to play.”
Moxley joins a 2013 recruiting class at CSU that includes Grand Junction’s Austin Berk at defensive end, outside linebacker Jake Bennet from Bear Creek, quarterback Nick Stevens out of Murietta, Calif., and Mullen quarterback Gasper Dominici, who accepted a preferred walk-on offer from CSU.
Moxley plans to major in exercise science, and said he aspires to become an exercise and conditioning coach.
Roaring Fork has not had any Division I football recruits in the past, but has sent two of its top female athletes to the D-I ranks.
Tricia Bader played basketball for Boise State after leading Roaring Fork to three straight Colorado state basketball titles in the late 1980s and early ’90s. She went on to play in the WNBA for a few seasons after graduating from Boise State.
More recently, former Rams volleyball standout Landon Garvik signed with George Washington University, where she still plays.
The Lady Demons’ McSwain and Knott have been playing soccer together since they were 6 years old, and are looking forward to a final season of prep soccer this spring.
Glenwood Springs is the defending 4A Western Slope League girls soccer champions, and will be looking to repeat this season and make a run into the state playoffs.
After that, it will be on to DU for McSwain and to Mines for Knott. The two teams are tentatively scheduled to face each other in the spring of 2014.
“That should be a lot of fun,” McSwain said. “We’ve never been on opposite teams.”
“DU did really well last season, and it will be exciting to be a part of such a great program,” she said. “They have a good business program, which is what I plan to major in.”
Knott said Mines is a good fit for her academically as well, and she looks forward to playing soccer for the Orediggers, and in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which is considered one of the top D-II college women’s soccer conferences.
Glenwood soccer coach Steve White said McSwain and Knott should have an impact at the college level.
“These two girls are definitely leaders on our team, and they demonstrate that through their play,” White said. “They have a strong commitment to training, and have outstanding technical skills.”
He recalled that one other former Glenwood girls soccer player, Katie Fifer, was recruited by and played for DU in the late 1990s.
Holmberg and Zimmerman join a long list of Western Slope prep football players who will be heading to Colorado Mesa University next fall.
“They have the kind of program and school that I liked,” said Holmberg, who was recruited as an offensive lineman. “I enjoy what they’re doing there, and I see a good future for the football program.”
Holmberg is also working it out with college officials and the coaching to join the Air National Guard in addition to his college studies and football.
Zimmerman is set to become a running back for the Mavericks. He said he chose Colorado Mesa over three other small universities and colleges that he had also considered.
“Mesa is closer to home and family, so they can come and watch the games,” Zimmerman said. “I think the school is heading in the right direction with it’s football program, and [head coach] Russ Martin is the kind of guy I want to be coached by.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.