By: Scott Keyes
National Letter of Intent Signing Day
Two years ago, the Powers Catholic football team limped into the playoffs with a 5-4 record.
However, don't let records fool you.
The Chargers went on one of the most memorable playoff runs in recent Michigan High School Athletic Association history, manhandling Lansing Catholic in the Division 5 finals and walking away from that game as state champions.
Danny O'Brien was the anchor of the 2011 championship squad and is currently playing his college football at the University of Tennessee.
Five more Powers' players, all of whom were instrumental in bringing home the state title in 2011 and who also helped the Chargers finish the 2012 season with a 9-0 regular season record and a district championship before falling in the regional finals, signed their National Letters of Intent earlier this month in a ceremony in front of friends and family at Powers Catholic High School.
The players included offensive lineman Vinnie Palazeti, who is headed to Ball State University in the fall; Division 5-6 Player of the Year Garrett Pougnet, who signed to play at Southern Illinois University; lineman Derek Trecha, who will play at Northwood University with teammate Prescott Myers at the wideout position; and Chris Koenigsknecht, who will play linebacker at Hillsdale College.
"First off, I would like to say how proud I am of these five young men who have worked their butts off to get where they are today," said Powers coach Bob Buckel. "They have made us all proud, and it was an honor coaching each and every one of them."
For Pougnet, the signing means that high school is almost over, but the next chapter is about to begin. He is looking forward to all of the challenges that await him.
"Southern Illinois has given me every indication that I will come into college as an athlete and fight for a possible position either on offense or defense," Pougnet said. "I couldn't be happier and blessed with the opportunity that has presented itself."
When Palazeti began his career at Powers four years ago, he said he wasn’t thinking much about playing football at the next level, let alone in Division 1.
"It was off the radar at first, but my sophomore year I had Danny O’Brien in front me, and I started on varsity and everything started happening,” he said. “I started believing in myself, and I worked hard and now I’ve ended up here. I will be redshirting my freshman year at Ball State, and I am really excited about that. It will allow me to get bigger, faster, and stronger."
Football wasn't the only team that was honored at Powers, as senior Ethan Wiskur committed to play baseball at Hillsdale College next year, while lacrosse players Courtney Rosol and Darbie Barkman committed to Aquinas College and Notre Dame College of Ohio, respectively.
Wiskur was a first-team Big Nine player his first three years at Powers and was an All-State pitcher last season, racking up a 9-0 record on the mound. He also hit over .400 the past three seasons.
"Hillsdale gave me the best offer, and I really liked their reputation for high academic standards," Wiskur said. “I’m still focused on my [last] Powers season and Hillsdale will come, but right now it is the Powers season.”
Rosol and Barkman have both been three-year starters for the Chargers girls lacrosse team. Last season, both girls were All-State selections and for their final year, both will be captains for Powers.
Barkman led the team with 25 assists last season and has racked up over 60 interceptions in her career. Rosol led Powers with 52 ground balls in 2012 and has totaled over 180 ground balls in her career.
Other National Signing Day Signings and Commitments
Cross country and track
Connor Mora -University of Michigan
Katie Weiler - Central Michigan University
Colt Harrington - Northwood University
Greg Krusniak – Ferris State University
Reed Stormzand – Siena Heights University
Tim Redder – Grand Rapids Community College
Kyle Short – Grand Valley State University
KC Zenner – Ferris State University
Kendal Carr – Aquinas College
Erika Neuman – Hofstra University
Lauren Whitfield – Aurora University
Dewey Lewis – Michigan State University
Zak Hermann – Cleary College
Missy Biener – Messiah University
Erika Bradfield – Grand Valley State University
Kate Hartnett – Indiana-Purdue at Ft. Wayne
Gabrielle Pilgrim – Christian Brothers University
Marissa Platz – Alma College
Sarah Vrosh – Olivet Nazarene University
Chris Koenigsknecht – Hillsdale College
Prescott Myers – Northwood University
Garrett Pougnet – Southern Illinois University
Derek Trecha – Northwood University
Vinnie Palazeti, – Ball State University
Ethan Wiskur – Hillsdale College
Darbie Barkman – Notre Dame College of Ohio
Courtney Rosol – Aquinas College
Daniel Davis – University of Toledo
Travell Lee – William Penn University
Reiley McFadden – Wayne State University
Bart Williams – Grand Valley State University
Luke Maclean – University of Pittsbugh
Haley Keefer – West Virginia University
Allison Carroll – Northwood University
Brian Winterfield – Michigan State University
Shaye Brown – Northern Michigan University
Mitch Ryan – Michigan Tech University
Patrick Ryan – Northern Michigan University
Eddie Walterhouse – Michigan Tech University
Samantha Thornton – Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Dinote Savage – 2010 Carman-Ainsworth grad (Western Arizona Junior College) – University of Oklahoma
Antwon Curtis – Michigan Tech University
Duane Haskins – Siena Heights University
Gerald Holmes – Michigan State University
Cleandre Robinson – Lackawanna College
Alton Yarbrough – Ferris State University
Justin Hubbard – Adrian College
Shelby Marsh – Cleary University
Nick Chappell – Hillsdale College
Mitch Shegos – Notre Dame College of Ohio
Megan Cockin – Mott Community College
Payton Maxheimer – Madonna University
Natalee Marshall – Malone University
Cory Cox – Cornerstone University
Haley Shaw – Eastern Michigan University.
Eric Cooper – Central Michigan University
Tyrone Southward – Siena Heights University
Julian Molina – Siena Heights University
Max McCombs – Saginaw Valley State University
J.R. Dawley – Siena Heights University
Keinyi Dixson – University of Findlay
Armani Miller – Siena Heights University
Sam Kitts – Michigan Tech University
Evin Papuga – Michigan Tech University
Johnny Williams – Michigan Tech University
Cody Perkins – Siena Heights University
Jaylen Schoenfield – Grand Valley State University
Jameson Toma – Northwood University
Cedric Washington – Northern Michigan University
Rachel Marble – Miami University, Ohio
Lucas Bourelle – Saginaw Valley State University
Jaleel Canty – Eastern Michigan University
Don Kyre – Central Michigan University
Steve Elmer – University of Notre Dame
Bruce Hall – Brown University
Jessica Kjellstrom – Michigan State University
Michael Buchanan – Valparaiso University
Cross country and track
Nate Cruz – Saginaw Valley State University
Karli Herrington – committed to Central Michigan University
Aaron Mathias – Saginaw Valley State University
NOUVEL CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Josh Schipper – Ferris State University
Ian Fischer – Michigan Tech University
BAY CITY WESTERN
Charles Proctor – Michigan Tech University
BAY CITY CENTRAL
Austin Jones – Northwood University
Tommy Jacobs – Northwood University
Jerome Hunter – Northwood University
Brendon Benac – Saginaw Valley State University
Mitch Greenacre – Saginaw Valley State University
Landon Grove – Ferris State University
Josh Malinowski – Concordia University
Derrick Nash – Central Michigan University
Jared Evers – University of Findlay
Cross country and track
Raquel Serna – Michigan State University
Jake Daugherty – Ferris State University
Nick Baldwin – Northwood University
Javon Haines – Ferris State Universty
Andrew Clements – Grand Valley State University
Ryan Anderson – Saginaw Valley State University
Scott Koenigsknecht – Grand Valley State University
Dylan Carroll – Grand Valley State University
James Henderson, Jr. – Michigan Tech University
Cory Williams – Michigan Tech University
Matt Freeman – Northwood University
(Note: If Sports Scene missed you on your signing day, we would love to hear about it. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)