Seven B-UHS athletes sign to continue in collegiate sports

Gaidian Adams, surrounded by her family and coaches, signs to play locally at WVWC. DALTON WRIGHT /The Record Delta

TENNERTON — On Tuesday, May 17, seven Buckhannon-Upshur High School student-athletes signed letters of intent to continue their careers on the collegiate level.  

Headlining the signing day ceremony was B-UHS multi-sport star, Shelby McDaniels. McDaniels had no lack of options in terms of college suitors, finally revealed her intentions about which sport she will focus on in college. McDaniels picked softball, following in the footsteps of her recently inducted B-UHS Hall of Fame alumni who played baseball in college, signing with the Glenville State Lady Pioneers. While McDaniels has established quite the reputation as an all-around athlete, especially in basketball. However, she particularly excels in softball where she is an all-state caliber utility player. McDaniels tools, skillset, and driven nature will surely lead to success on the next level as she is set to begin her Pioneer career.  

Lady Bucs Softball teammate and fellow all-state selection Robin Ball chose to keep her talents local, signing with Glenville’s MEC rival Davis and Elkins. McDaniels took a moment to speak on her signing, saying, “My relationship with my future coach is different from others. I’ve played for her before in travel season a few years ago so I am familiar and comfortable with her style. I love the way she coaches and how she pushes you to be the best you can be. She’s built a special culture down there that I’m excited to be a part of. The team is really special with so much talent so I’m excited to add to that culture and grow with my team. I want to see how far I can go personally in this journey but I think the ultimate goal is winning a championship with this team. It was definitely I long time coming to be able to decide what I wanted to play let alone where and what I want to study. I knew I wanted to play at the next level, my dad has always been a role model just as my grandpa who both played collegiate baseball so I’ve always wanted to play at the next level, whether it be softball or basketball. This has really been a surreal experience and I’m blessed in so many ways from the support of my family and friends. I want to thank every coach and teacher who’s guided me and supported me as well and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.” 

Ball, another all-state selection for head coach Levi Bender’s Lady Bucs this season in softball said, “Signing day was a dream come true for me. I have been playing softball since I was four-years old and it’s always been a big part of my life. I can’t wait to write my next chapter at D&E. I chose D&E because I loved their art program. And while I haven’t gotten the chance to really get to know the coaches and team very well yet, I’m very impressed with the program that they have grown and am excited for the opportunity. Once at D&E, I’m hoping to improve my skills and become an even more well-rounded player. I am super excited to experience the game at a whole other level and I’ve haven’t seen much of Coach Fracker so I’m excited to see the wealth of knowledge about the game she will bring to the table. It’s been a goal of mine to compete at the collegiate level for as long as I can remember and today is an honor that me, my family, and past coaches have worked really hard to make a reality.” 

A pair of B-U Lady Bucs lacrosse seniors signed on to remain teammates at the next level, as both Gaidian Adams and Mashae Bowser inked their respective letters of intent to play at WVWC. The two senior standouts were major factors in leading Head Coach Jamie Greene’s Lady Bucs compile a 17-1 record and an appearance on the WVSLA state championship game against Fairmont Senior.  

Adams said, “I’ve played lacrosse for 6 years and I’m attending WVWC in the fall for graphic design. The factors that drew me to Wesleyan was the lacrosse team, being so close to home, and the academics. I believe our community is very supportive and safe and I’m not ready to leave that so soon. My relationship to my team and coaches is strong. I love my teammates and I have gained so many friends while playing lacrosse. I have known my coaches for a long time and they have made me the player I am today. I expect to bring my positive attitude, my drive, and my hardworking mindset to the table. I am excited to help rebuild WVWC lacrosse team. I believe we have a great season ahead and I am excited for the next four years. I have been interested in playing in college since sophomore year. I was never set and stone on it but now that I have signed I am so glad I made that decision. Lacrosse brings me so much joy along with motivation.” 

Bowser offered her thoughts on her decision, saying, “I chose WVWC mainly because it’s in my hometown and because I was really interested in continuing my lacrosse career in a college setting. My relationship with my future coaches and teammates is feeling like we are a big family that has each other’s backs and enjoying something we all love together. I expect for me to bring in some of my lacrosse skills and communication skills to make a difference on the field when playing. It feels amazing to have signed as a collegiate athlete I’ve always dreamed about continuing my lacrosse career. My family has continually pushed me to be the best I can be and that’s what has got me this far and the many blessing from God who has guided me this far. I chose GSU because I love the facilities and the town is similar to Buckhannon with a close community. It’s also not too far away from home to where my family is able to make it to games but also far enough to where I’m not feeling like I still like at home.” 

Joining his fellow Bucs in choosing to staying local and attending WVWC was multi-sport star Sterlin Thropp. While Thropp excelled in every sport, whether it be track, football or basketball, he will be strictly focusing on track and field for the Bobcats.  

“I liked Wesleyan because it seemed like a competitive atmosphere, surrounded by great people running their program. Wesleyan is also close to home and I will be able to stay in touch and see the people that I love. The relationship I have with the coaches is excellent to say the least. They have a great program that excels in track and field. My future teammates are all competitors and have a hard working mindset. I’ve already built a relationship with some of the incoming freshmen as well and they have the same mindset I have and want to be the best at their events. I’m excited to bring my talents to their program,” said Thropp. “My goals as an incoming freshman is help better Wesleyan’s track and field program. I hope to go in and make a splash in the 400 and do big things out of it. I’d like to better my teammates around me and make it an even more competitive atmosphere. I’m blessed to be able to compete at the next level and it has always been a dream of mine to do so. It took a lot of hard work to get here and I could never have done it by myself. I’d like to thank all my coaches in the past for helping me and showing me things, I should do and shouldn’t do whether it was football, basketball, or track coaches. I’d also like to thank my parents for driving to all my sporting events and doing things that will make me more successful in the sporting field. I’ll definitely miss everyone to all the coaches and teammates but I’m ready and excited to take my talents at the next level!” 

The final two Buckhannon-Upshur students to sign their letters of intent, hailed from Head Coach Anthony McDaniels’ newly established B-UHS E-Sports program, Project Leviathan Gaming. Both seniors Gavin Allmon and Dylan Rowan signed with West Virginia Wesleyan E-sports program, strengthening an already strong pipeline of gamers going heading directly from the halls of B-UHS to that of nearby WVWC.  

WVWC was the convenient choice as it is the first collegiate program in the Mountain State to offer E-Sports athletic scholarships at the varsity level, allowing ample opportunity for the B-UHS gamers to earn financial aid to help pay for their school.  

The pair B-UHS E-Sports standouts took advantage of this opportunity. Dylan Rowan, took the time to express his excitement to join the growing Bobcats’ E-Sports program, saying, “The thing that drew me close the school I have chosen is that it’s close to home and I can just drive to school and come back home with my family, my relation with coach Hayes has been great these past two years and I hope to have a really great relationship with my teammates in the future, I plan on bringing everything to the table, I plan on working hard on more call outs, to know the maps better, and the feeling of signing with a college for a sport feels unreal to me I feel like I’m dreaming, I never thought that I would sign with a college to play video games competitively, it has always been a dream to do it and to be a part of a school so awesome and I just can’t wait for what the future holds.”

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