A handful of athletes from around the Chippewa Valley officially pledged their commitments to continue their athletic careers in college.
The initial signing date of the signing period for Division I and Division II non-football sports was Wednesday, offering the chance for athletes to solidify their college plans.
While many of the signings weren’t a surprise, the opening of the signing period was the first time their future coaches were able to share their thoughts on their new recruits.
Two local boys basketball players signed letters of intent to play Division I basketball. Eau Claire North’s Dalton Banks is headed to Southern Illinois next year, while Eau Claire Memorial’s Caden Boser will play for the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Banks and Boser were both first team All-Northwest selections last winter. Banks averaged 23.3 points per game on his way to earning AP third team all-state honors.
“Dalton fits everything we are looking for, in terms of building this program with great people who are talented and love to play the game,” Southern Illinois coach Bryan Mullins said during a press conference on Wednesday. “He is a dynamic offensive guard that can affect the game in so many ways. He is going to have a huge senior season. His passionate work ethic and his mindset will allow him to have a great career here at SIU.”
Boser led the Old Abes with an average of 15 points and 9.8 rebounds per night, earning honorable mention recognition on the AP all-state teams.
Two Chippewa Falls girls basketball players also signed their letters of intent. Caelan Givens will play Division I ball at UW-Green Bay, while Aaliyah McMillan will continue her career at Division II Wayne State.
Givens was a first team All-Northwest selection last winter, averaging 20.4 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She earned an honorable mention on the AP all-state teams.
“The first thing I noticed about Caelan was her basketball intelligence; she makes players around her better,” Phoenix head coach Kevin Borseth said in a release on the school’s athletics website. “She is a coach on the court. She’s full speed ahead at all times and a fiery competitor.”
McMillan was a sharpshooter for the Cardinals last season, hitting 40 percent of her 3-point attempts and earning a shot at the WIAA 3-Point Challenge. She averaged 15 points and 7.8 rebounds as a junior.
Thorp’s Isaac Soumis signed his letter of intent to play for Division II Southwest Minnesota State. He was an honorable mention All-Northwest and a second team All-Western Cloverbelt selection as a junior, averaging 10.9 points per game for Thorp.
Fall Creek’s Isaiah Katz signed to play baseball at Division II St. Cloud State next year. He helped the Crickets win the Western Cloverbelt title last spring, earning second team all-conference honors in the process.
Eau Claire North alumnus Sam Stange, who graduated in the spring, made his commitment to play hockey at the University of Wisconsin official by signing his letter of intent on Wednesday. Stange was the state’s Mr. Hockey award winner last winter.