As the 2019 school year winds down, most students are anxiously waiting for summer to start. The recently graduated seniors are off to start the next chapter of their lives. For some that is technical school, military enrollment or going directly into the job force. Some are heading off to college, and many of those will be playing sports at the collegiate level.
Recently there have been a bevy of students signed from local high schools to play at the college level.
Two such Troy seniors will be attending college on an athletic scholarship: Kiersten Nixon and Bailey Ford.
Nixon will be attending Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas, to study exercise science.
She started, like most softball players, at the age of five on her first tee-ball league.
“My first coach was a pitcher in the olympics, she always told me that I had a spark and never forgot those words,” Nixon said.
She remembers watching college softball with her father when she was younger and always dreamed of playing one day. In high school, she worked closely with the TBHS varsity softball coach, Lance Richardson.
“The first year I tried out for the team I was really nervous, but I knew that my years of hard work would pay off and eventually the girls became a second family to me,” Nixon said.
She played varsity softball all through high school and is able to continue to chase her dream of playing professional softball.
“When we toured Wichita State and met with the coaching staff, it really became real and started to feel like home,” Nixon said.
After she graduates college, Nixon plans to start her own tee-ball team and coach them until they go off to play for college.
“For anyone wanting to play in high school, it is a great experience and opportunity,” Nixon said.
Ford will be attending Linden wood University to study sports management on a baseball scholarship he received. Growing up, Ford also played basketball and football until he joined a select traveling baseball team when he was fourteen.
“That is when I became more serious with baseball, and the dream was becoming real,” Ford said. He played baseball though middle school and high school while working closely with the coaches to improve his abilities.
“I was nervous trying out freshman year, but it got easier as the year went on,” Ford said. After college Ford’s goal is to play in the professional baseball league.
“I would also like to work for a sporting organization such as the Cardinals or the Blues, I think that would be pretty cool,” Ford said.
From Winfield, several seniors were also awarded with athletic scholarships, including Desirae Loyd.
Loyd will be attending St. Louis Community College in the fall to study Dental Hygiene. She was awarded a full ride softball scholarship to play for the college. She began playing tee-ball at age four and joined her first select softball team by age eight. Loyd continued to play when in middle school she was recognized for her skill.
“I remember I was playing in middle school and some of the high school girls came to watch me play,” Loyd said.
When she moved to high school, she was the starting varsity catcher all though her high school career.
“I knew I always wanted to play softball in college and now I get to,” Loyd said.
In her senior year of high school, Loyd was named All Region and All State player of the year.
After college Loyd hopes to coach a younger team to work with them on the basics of the softball.
“I want to coach young girls to give them the same opportunity to love the sport that I do,” Loyd said.