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Ten Longview High athletes headed to collegiate level

By Rick Kretzschmar
May 1, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Nine Longview soccer players coming off successful springs for their high school teams are not leaving East Texas to continue their careers in college. This includes Israel Madrid, who will live up to a long-term commitment to stay in Longview.

Madrid was part of a group of 10 Longview athletes who signed with colleges Tuesday at the Longview High School Turf Room. Madrid and teammate Mario Lopez will head across town to play for LeTourneau University.

The boys soccer team - which was 16-4-6 in 2012, won the District 11-5A title and advanced to the Class 5A Region II quarterfinals - had four additional players sign. Quillian Briceno and Deladier Zamudio signed with Northeast Texas Community College. Celso Alejandro inked with Wiley College, while Jesus Soto will go to Texas College.

Longview's girls soccer team have three players headed to the next level: Victoria Ross (UT Tyler), Kathryn VanMeter (Tyler Junior College) and Anali Magana (Wiley College).

A volleyball player - Danielle Tate - also signed and was an exception to staying close to home, inking with Northwestern Oklahoma State.

Madrid is coming off a standout senior season in which he was named the 11-5A Most Valuable Player and set a single-season school record with 28 goals. Madrid said he took a campus visit to LeTourneau and watched a game in October, making up his mind in the process. LeTourneau was 6-10-2 in 2011 and plays in front of an enthusiastic group of student fans.

"I didn't think about playing anywhere else and I think other coaches knew I had made my decision," Madrid said. "It's right here and they have a good engineering program.

"I'm looking forward to playing in front of those crazy fans."

All six Longview boys soccer signees were 11-5A first-team selections this season.

While Madrid had his decision set for months, Zamudio changed his mind a day before he signed. Zamudio, a sweeper, originally made a verbal commitment to Wiley, but switched to Northeast Texas on Monday.

"I want to be a welder and I like what Northeast does with their welding program," Zamudio said. "I'm excited about what they have to offer."

Including Tuesday's three signees, the Longview girls soccer team had six college signees. Signing in February were Molly Grisham (North Texas), Jordan Adams (Arkansas State) and Morgan Downin (Hartwick). Junior defender Jennifer Boudreau has verbally committed to the University of Memphis.

Ross was 11-5A MVP, helping the Lady Lobos to a 10-7-6 record and the district title. Ross said she received strong interest from UT Tyler starting in January. Ross played club soccer previously under UT Tyler coach Stefani Webb. Ross said she chose UT Tyler - without a scholarship since UT Tyler is a NCAA Division III school - over a scholarship offer from Tyler Junior College.

"I know the coaches better and the girls seem like a better family," Ross said.

VanMeter signing with Tyler Junior College concluded a considerable change of heart for the goalie. She said here original plan was to quit playing soccer after her senior season.

VanMeter said she changed her mind in the fall when TJC coach Corey Rose made her an offer. VanMeter said she considered playing for the North Texas, but decided to go with a full scholarship offer to TJC, an offer UNT had not extended.

"They told me I have a chance to start in the first game," VanMeter said. "I'm pumped. I've never been more excited in my life."

Tate also had a change of heart after a personal setback. Tate, a defensive specialist, had extensive dental surgery in August. This delayed her senior season with the Lady Lobos, a season she said she worried wasn't going to happen at all for her.

Tate said she reconsidered a college career when she went to a February tryout at Northwestern Oklahoma State, an NCAA Division II school. Tate also went to a talent showcase in Houston and sent out video highlights to colleges, leading to offers from Richland College, Texas Wesleyan, Oklahoma Wesleyan and interest from LeTourneau.

Tate will be part of a Northwestern Oklahoma State program being revived after the school didn't have a volleyball team for 20 years.

"That's what drew me to it. You have a chance to make history," Tate said. "This is something because after the surgery I wasn't sure I would play for the Lady Lobos. It was like starting over."



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