A half dozen Jonathan Alder High School athletes signed Division III Commitment Letters Friday to continue their athletic careers at the college level.
Cal Duckworth (Adrian College, baseball), Julie Jakse (Wittenberg University, volleyball), Colton Swick (Wittenberg University, football), Daniel Gowans (Ohio Wesleyan University, football), Kristen Beachy (Ohio Wesleyan University, soccer) and Devin Keaton (Heidelberg University, tennis) all made it official during a ceremony held in the high school gymnasium.
There’s a closeness that comes from being at Jonathan Alder High School and in the village of Plain City. The family atmosphere that exits in the school community is interwoven into the Pioneers sports teams. When athletes start looking at where they’d like to play after high school, finding a place where it feels like home is often a big key.
“Both (Swick and Gowan) are high-character kids, they were two of our biggest weight room guys in the program, guys that have played different positions throughout their career,” Alder football coach Brett Glass said. “Selfless players who have helped us win the last two years. They’re good players and good people off the field.
“Ideally what we have here is a family atmosphere, we preach togetherness and being there for each other. Luckily for these two guys they’ve found that on their recruiting visits with the teams and coaching staffs at Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan. They find it comparable which is a very good thing for me and for them as they move on.”
“It was a long process, talking to a lot of coaches and taking a lot of visits,” Swick said. “After choosing one it feels good to be moving on and start getting ready for the next level.
“There was a family environment at Wittenberg. Coach (Joe) Fincham did a good job of making me feel at home there. As soon as I visited there I knew I wanted to be a Tiger.”
Gowans, who will play at Ohio Wesleyan University was a second team All-Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference pick as a senior. He and Swick helped the Pioneers to back-to-back state playoff appearances.
Beachy will also be at Ohio Wesleyan University, was a member of the first Alder soccer team to ever win a district crown and advance to the regional. She played a big role for the Lady Pioneers the last two seasons.
Duckworth, a leader on the Pioneers baseball team this spring, will continue his career at Adrian College located in Adrian, Mich. He saw selected second team All-MOAC as a junior.
Jakse helped lead Alder to three straight regional tournaments, and was a key contributor on the 2015 state runner-up squad. She was a first team All-MOAC selection last fall and will likely play early at Wittenberg.
Keaton, also earned all-league honors. A year ago he was second-team All-MOAC as a doubles team player. He’s helped lead Alder to a 4-0 start of the 2017 season.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.