FARMINGTON — A handful of local athletes recently signed letters of intent to continue their athletic career, and represent their high school and community at the collegiate level.
Farmington's Lexie Jackson and Piedra Vista's Rebekah Eaves signed to play volleyball at the next level, while Navajo Prep's Harlei Haceesa will go on to play basketball, and Farmington's Ethan Secrest will play college baseball.
Jackson inks with NMMI
Farmington libero and defensive specialist Lexie Jackson wasn't sure where she would land in the fall, visiting a handful of volleyball programs. But her trip to Roswell to visit the New Mexico Military Institute volleyball team sealed her signing with the Lady Broncos on April 27.
"When I went down there to visit, I was super apprehensive, but when I got to know some of the girls and the coaches, it felt like the right place to continue my education and get to keep playing," Jackson said. "After I went to NMMI, I decided that's the place I want to go."
Farmington head coach Alana Rowland, who has been at the school only one year, previously coached at Odessa College in Odessa, Texas, which competes in the same conference as NMMI. Rowland said she thinks Jackson will face an adjustment period moving up to the Western Junior College Athletic Conference, but once she gets used to the level of competition, she'll be able to make a noticeable impact on the team.
Jackson said she plans on studying engineering while playing volleyball at NMMI, then transfer to a larger school to earn her degree in civil engineering.
Eaves to join Western Arizona
Rebekah Eaves set herself apart with a fire and passion to win during her time at Piedra Vista, and that passion helped her garner the attention of one of the best junior college programs in the West.
Eaves, a libero at PV, signed a letter of intent today to play for Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. The Lady Matadors reached the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament last fall with a 26-4 record.
"I had three different choices to choose from, but I always wanted this school," Eaves said. "The coach really reached out to me, and the program for volleyball is really good. I felt like it was a really good fit."
PV head coach Ron Becker said he expects Eaves to make an immediate impact for the Lady Matadors either at libero or as a defensive specialist.
Becker added that Eaves has the potential to move on from the junior college level after a couple of years to play at the Division II or even Division I level.
Eaves is undecided on her academic major.
Haceesa headed to University of the Southwest
As the only senior on Navajo Prep's girls basketball team, Harlei Hacessa was leaned on heavily as a leader and role model for the Lady Eagles. And with her signing to play for the University of the Southwest in Hobbs today, the former standout can again be an example Prep players can look to as they continue their high school career.
"She had a lot of responsibility and was able to stay strong, not only physically but mentally, which was huge because we went through a lot of ups and downs with our team this year," Prep coach Rainy Crisp said. "She goes out and plays, and there's nothing more you can ask from her."
Haceesa did a little bit of everything for the Lady Eagles, averaging 10.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as a senior.
At Southwest, Haceesa plans to focus her studies in the premedical program with hopes of becoming a surgical technologist.
"I feel if I go into that career field, I'll be able to come back and help my community here," Haceesa said.
Secrest set to join Midland University
Farmington first baseman Ethan Secrest will walk into a unique situation with a chance play regularly as a freshman at Midland University in Freemont, Neb., after signing a letter of intent on Friday.
The Warriors field three baseball teams within their program, all of which schedule around 60 games per year, giving Secrest a chance to see the field regularly from day one rather than a potential redshirt season or limited playing time as an underclassman.
"That's going to be awesome for him. Generally speaking, there aren’t a lot of freshmen who get to go in and play right away, and this gives him an opportunity to play right away," Farmington coach Sean Trotter said. "It's a nice situation for a kid to walk into as a freshman and know that you have the opportunity to play."
Secrest plans to study computer science at Midland.
"For me, I was thinking about the classroom first. You're a student athlete, and you need to get a degree to get somewhere successful," Secrest said. "As far as the classroom, I know this is a good fit for me."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.