This year two out of the four seniors on the HR girls varsity basketball team have signed to play at the college of their choice. Both players Tia Slade, senior, and captain Payton Muma, senior, have received and accepted offers to play at the collegiate level.
After months of communications with various colleges, Slade accepted an offer from Colorado Mesa. Following her participation in a club tournament in Iowa, Colorado Mesa reached out and began a series of communications where they expressed interest.
“I started to talk to Coach Taylor Wagner and got to know his coaching style and understand the program. I went on a tour of the campus and really liked what they had to offer for campus size, location, and programs. Then they invited me to come practice with them, but with the fires and pandemic, it was delayed. But when I finally made it, they gave me an offer while I was there,” said Slade.
Slade said that her offer was based on multiple factors including her work ethic, energy, and academics. She expressed her gratitude for varsity coach Caryn Jarocki, also referred to as Coach J, stating that her programs both in school and in club basketball have taught her a lot about not only basketball but life as well.
Due to her rigorous work ethic both academically and athletically, Slade not only received maximum athletic scholarships but also is striving for academic scholarships as well. She believes that she will receive them due to her class rank and current efforts to study and take the ACT.
Like Slade, Muma has received multiple offers. With 10 D1 offers, Muma had a decision to make, and ultimately accepted a full ride scholarship from Gonzaga University. “What went into choosing a college was the family fit and what felt like home to me. The minute I went to Gonzaga I knew it was the one,” said Muma.
Muma, who plays point-guard, said she had been playing since she was super young and has always loved the game. Muma said that she has worked hard and put things aside to solely focus on what she loves most, basketball.
Not only has she strived to make herself a better player but also her teammates. “As a teammate I have a lot of energy and love to have fun, but I also encourage my teammates to make themselves better,” said Muma.
Alex Pirog, junior and varsity basketball player, expressed her gratitude and enjoyment of playing with both players. Pirog said, “They’re both really strong leaders and hype everyone up, and they’re both really good friends to the team which helps on the court. Plus, they’re both really good players as well as athletes.”
Pirog said that they had celebrated both athletes’ signings by congratulating them and attending the signing ceremony as well as a team dinner afterwards. Both players said that they also had private celebrations with their families.
Isabella Bogo, Staff Reporter