14 SM East athletes sign letters of intent to play college sports

SM East has always had a great reputation for academics. This year’s crop of college-bound athletes suggests its profile in sports is on the rise as well.

Fourteen — count them, 14 — Lancers signed national letters of intent to play collegiate sports during a ceremony in the SM East gym Wednesday afternoon. They are:

Toni Aguiar, who will be running track at Dartmouth College. She is the school record holder in the 100 meters, and placed second in the event at state in 2011.

Dakota Collins, who will be playing football at Coffeyville Community College. Collins, who transferred to SM East for his senior year, passed for more than 1,500 yards despite sitting out much of the 2011 season with an injury.

Mollie Cooper, who will be playing tennis at Colorado State University. Cooper was part of the duo that won the state doubles title the past three years.

Alexandrea “Alex” Dressman, who will be playing soccer at William Jewell College. She was a four-year letter winner and was on the KC United Soccer Club’s metro team.

Marston Fries, who will be swimming at the University of Connecticut. She is a two time individual state champion and the SM East record holder in the 4X.

Mimi Fotopolous, who will be playing tennis at the University of Tennessee. She is a two time undefeated singles state champ, and was ranked 32 in the nation for the 2012 recruiting class. She is good at tennis.

Hayley Hansford, who will be playing volleyball at Pittsburg State University. Hansford is a four-year varsity letter winner and the school record holder in setter assists.

Kara Hines, who will be playing soccer at Benedictine College. She was named to both the All Sunflower and All Northeast Kansas first teams.

Shannon McGinley, who will be playing softball at the University of Virginia. McGinley is a four-year letter winner and made the All Sunflower League second team.

Caroline Nick, who will be playing basketball at Emporia State University. She is a four-year letter winner and was senior captain. She was a two-time All Sunflower League first team member.

Conner Schrock, who will be golfing at Kansas State University. He placed second at the Sunflower League Championships in 2011 and was on both the 2010 and 2011 state championship-winning teams.

Henry Simpson, who will also be golfing at Kansas State University. Simpson won the 2010 and 2011 Midwest Section Academic and Athletic Achievements Award.

Meara Smith, who will be playing tennis at Missouri Western State University. She was a varsity tennis letter winner.

And, Molly Young, who will be playing volleyball at Johnson County Community College. Young made the All Sunflower League second team in 2011.

Congrats to all the athletes and their families. If you haven’t been reminded lately, it’s always a great day to be a Lancer.