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Seven Bull Dogs headed to Division I programs


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Seven Columbus North student-athletes committed to Division I schools during Wednesday's signing day ceremony. They are, front row from left, Malissa Hofmeister (soccer), Sydney Jarrard (swimming) and Jessie Freudenthaler (swimming); and back row from left, Morgan Proffitt (soccer), Elizabeth James (soccer), Thomas Shoaf (football) and Daniel Ayers (baseball).
PHOTO BY ANDREW LAKER
Seven Columbus North student-athletes committed to Division I schools during Wednesday's signing day ceremony. They are, front row from left, Malissa Hofmeister (soccer), Sydney Jarrard (swimming) and Jessie Freudenthaler (swimming); and back row from left, Morgan Proffitt (soccer), Elizabeth James (soccer), Thomas Shoaf (football) and Daniel Ayers (baseball). PHOTO BY ANDREW LAKER


The Columbus North girls soccer team put together impressive tournament runs in 2010 and 2011, notching a state runner-up finish and another final four appearance.

Wednesday afternoon, three key players who were sophomores and juniors on those Bull Dog squads were among seven seniors overall honored at a signing ceremony at North High School. Soccer players Morgan Proffitt (Marquette), Elizabeth James (Dayton) and Malissa Hofmeister (IPFW) reiterated college decisions they previously made.

“It’s real exciting,” North girls soccer coach Derek Stewart said. “These kids have all been excellent players and worked extremely hard. I’m very proud of them, and we’re excited to watch them at the next level, and I think they’ll all do great.”

Proffitt committed to Marquette before tearing her ACL last summer. She missed most of the season but returned to score three goals in four games, including the game-winner in the sectional finals.

Proffitt, who netted 13 goals and five assists in earning All-State honors as a junior, was invited to a U18 national team camp but suffered the injury a week before she was to leave. She hopes to make the national team and play in the Olympics.

“Marquette really fit my personality,” Proffitt said. “It’s not too big. It’s not too small. It has a really good, competitive soccer program. I love the coach, all the girls are super nice, and it has all the majors (physical therapy, exercise science) I’m interested in.”

James committed to Dayton in the fall of 2011. She posted a 0.41 goals-against average in earning third-team All-State honors as a junior and a 1.30 GAA in making second-team All-State honors as a senior.

“I just fell in love with the campus when I went to visit,” James said. “The coaching staff is amazing. They have what I want to study academically (pre-law), and they have a really successful women’s program. They’re almost always in the top 50, and they’re going to have a successful future, and I want to be a part of that.”

Hofmeister committed to IPFW over the summer. She had a goal and two assists as a senior and helped lead a defense that recorded 23 shutouts over the past two years.

“I decided to go there because I want to study business, so I will get the IU curriculum,” Hofmeiseter said. “I wanted a smaller school, and I went there and just loved it. The coaches were really nice.”

Meanwhile, two Bull Frog girls swimmers have decided to continue their careers at Eastern Illinois. Jessie Freudenthaler and Sydney Jarrard are headed to the Charleston, Ill., school.

Freudenthaler, who is an alternate for North’s 200-medley relay team for this weekend’s state meet, plans to major in exercise science and wants to become a physical therapist.

“When I visited, I really liked the team,” Freudenthaler said. “The atmosphere there made me really decide I wanted to go there.”

Jarrard, a distance swimmer, plans to major in secondary education.

“Jessie told me to look at Eastern, and I did, and I really liked the campus and the coach and the team,” Jarrard said. “Then, (North) coach (Jim) Sheridan told me to look at Western Illinois, so I visited there too, and I really liked it there, so I kind of had to decide between those two. It came down to my major and academic money.”

Thomas Shoaf committed last summer to play football at BYU. The All-State lineman also had offers from Iowa, Ball State and Indiana University, and picked the Cougars over Iowa.

“Weighing the pros and cons between the two, BYU just happened to have more of the pros,” said Shoaf, who plans to major in civil engineering or architecture. “Both schools are great. Both have great football programs.”

“I have family out there (in Utah), so that was a benefit,” he said. “Plus, I’d rather be in the mountains than Iowa.”

Daniel Ayers committed in November 2011 to play baseball at Western Michigan. The left-handed pitcher went 6-0 with a 1.33 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 58 innings last season in earning honorable mention All-State honors.

Ayers plans to major in education and become a teacher and coach.

“Western has been recruiting me since early my freshman year, so they’ve been with me the whole time through the process, and I’ve really gotten to know the coaches,” Ayers said. “I felt really comfortable with them. Their program is going in the right direction. It was ultimately an easy decision.”

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