Marquette athletes sign to compete at the college level

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Four graduating athletes from Marquette Senior High School signed on to continue playing their respective sports at the collegiate level on Wednesday afternoon.

The Sentinels’ 2023-24 Varsity Girl’s Basketball team captain Kyley Elmblad will continue playing basketball for the Ripon College Red Hawks.

“I always knew I wanted to play in college,” Elmblad said. “My older cousin played in college, and I always grew up watching her play, so it’s just always been in me. I played in Milwaukee and I played for a team called Team 1848 in Wisconsin. They reached out to me through there and it was an assistant coach who reached out to me, and then the coach started talking to me and we started getting closer, being able to like talk. She was able to, on our first visit, she was able to tell me all my flaws, everything I’m good at, and why I should be on the team and why I’d be an asset for the team.”

Ian Kangas committed to King University in Tennessee to join their Cycling program, becoming the first member of the MSHS Mountain Biking Program to sign to continue competing with a collegiate team. Kangas says his social media presence helped attract the program’s attention.

“When I did a Zoom meeting with them and met the coaches, the coach who runs their Instagram account mentioned she saw my Instagram account, saw that it was all cycling and they loved that,” Kangas said. “They want people on the team who are committed to their drive for cycling and they saw I had that, so they reached out. It’s pretty cool to be the first student athlete from the Marquette area, U.P. in general to sign for cycling, which is a newer sport here at the school. It’s been around forever, but there have been some hiccups. It’s been a fun journey.”

MSHS baseball teammates Nick Pantti and Isaac Sarles will stick to the baseball diamond in college, as Nick committed to Lakeland University while Isaac will play at St. Norbert.

“Every year of baseball we play, it’s always in the back of your mind ‘I want to keep playing somewhere’,” Pantti said. “But this year I finally got into talks with Coach Jurek and Coach Post and they made it happen with me. It was just on the visit, they offered me to go and so it just feels good that all the work paid off and we get to experience four more years of baseball somewhere.”

“It feels good. It’s a sigh of relief. It feels good to get it done and all our hard work feels like it’s paid off,” Sarles said. “Talking again to my coach, it just clicked. For years I’ve wanted to play and just going to St. Norbert and seeing it really just solidified that for me.”

As they get ready to set off on their new journeys, each athlete says they felt a strong connection to their ultimate choice, and are excited to see how they can grow as they take their next step.

“It was around my first visit when I met the team, the coaches, and it’s just like they’re one big family,” Elmblad said. “The community is very involved, so it was nice. I hope I bring to the team good energy. I also hope I’m able to do what they need to do on the team, which is being able to run the ball and being more of a faster center than sitting in the post.”

“It’s gonna be a fun team to be on. Close-knitted family type of team, which is like the teams I’ve been on, so I’m pretty excited,” Kangas said. “If you’re on a plan, just follow the plan and you’ll get there someday. It’s worth the wait, if you put in the work you’ll get there”

“Talking to Coach Jurek over the phone and then setting up the meeting with him and Coach Post down there, they just walked me through the whole campus and just the same philosophy we’ve had here at our high school for the last four years,” Pantti said. “Work hard on and off the field, so just felt good there. I’m more of a defensive-minded player, so I hope to make some great plays for them and figure out my batting while I’m there.”

“Through the recruiting process, just sending out emails to coaches and college visits, especially, going to St. Norbert, he set up a one-on-one meeting and we talked and he made me feel wanted and so that was just a big part of that and my choice in the end,” Sarles said. “I’m going get better and these next four years I’m going to put everything I have into it to be the best player I can be and dominate on that stage too.”

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