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Episcopal's Breylan Thompson
Independence Day has come and gone, but recruiting season is still in full force.
Some of the most well-established collegiate programs are staking their claim for the best that Texas has to offer
So, in case you were too busy grilling or shooting off fireworks, here are just some of the top local athletes who have recently committed to play at the collegiate level.
Jackson DiPasquale (VYPE)
Conroe’s three-star defensive-back, Tice Williams, put up some big numbers in his junior campaign. Paired with the number of camps he attended throughout the year, it’s no surprise that Williams accrued offers from several big names in college football -- Oregon State, Air Force, UNT, Texas State and many others.
However, after much deliberation, the incoming senior for Conroe football ultimately decided to land on one of the contenders in the group of five conferences -- Boise State University.
Concordia Lutheran volleyball will look even better this upcoming season with the addition of Class of 2025 setter Carleigh Schluter.
The recent Klein Collins-transfer will be heading onto the court with more confidence than ever, now that she is officially committed to play for Sam Houston State volleyball at the conclusion of her high school career.
Having been on the TWHS varsity team since his sophomore year, Everett Champlin has seen his production increase through each season.
Champlin's strength and quick feet from the offensive tackle spot have garnered the attention of several collegiate programs, including Air Force, Texas State and Dartmouth.
Like two other TWHS offensive linemen, Champlin will be heading into this Fall officially committed, now that he has decided to take his talents to Army.
Incoming junior Sanaa Donaie will continue to be a game-wrecker for GCM, from the middle-blocker position.
When she's not playing for Memorial, she continues to play volleyball for her club team -- Absolute Volleyball Academy.
Evidently, her dedication to the sport and remarkable athleticism caught the attention of some big names, but it seemed like an easy choice for Donaie, who has decided to play for LSU when she graduates in 2025.
Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
As one of the commanders of Episcopal’s defense, combined with his campus presence as the Class President, it goes without saying that Breylan Thompson is well known.
That recognition carried over into the recruitment process as Thompson held offers from Ivy League schools such as Princton, Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth to other exceptional programs -- Lamar, SHSU, Air Force and Army.
But, “Mr. President” decided to take his talents to Yale once he’s completed his final season with Episcopal.
Given the list of accolades -- District 13-6A Offensive Player of the Year and GHVCA 6A Newcomer of the Year titles in 2022, it was only a matter of time before junior Samara Coleman landed on a college to play for.
The Grizzlies can tally another one of their stars as a future college athlete, with Coleman's recent commitment to the University of Pittsburgh.
Grand Oaks volleyball is looking even deadlier.
Goose Creek Memorial's Sammy Ibarra Jr.
BASEBALL HAS BEEN IN THE CARDS FOR GOOSE CREEK MEMORIAL’S STAR SENIOR PITCHER SAMMY IBARRA JR.
CONSIDERING HE WAS BORN INTO THE CULTURE, HE WOULDN’T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY.
“I started when I was six years old because of my grandfather,” said Ibarra. “He’s always played since he was a young man, which kind of served as a motivation for me. I always liked the sport after watching him play.” Since then, the sport has suited Ibarra well, ultimately leading to him being the ace for the GCM baseball and signing a college scholarship with Ranger College.
Juan De Leon (VYPE)
“I’ve always had a pretty decent arm,” he said. “But, I think it was around my eighth-grade year when I thought that I had the potential to build a future around the sport. I’ve just kept pushing from that point.” Ibarra has a knack for being versatile on the mound, throwing a fastball that ranges in the low 90s, with the capability of mixing in his off-speed slider.
His impressive stats (6-4, 2.33 ERA, 81 K, 6 CG) earned Ibarra a first-team, all district selection in 2022. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if he repeats those kinds of numbers this Spring, as he hopes to guide the Patriots to the postseason.
2022-23 Goose Creek Memorial BaseballJuan De Leon (VYPE)
“I just want to be a leader to the team, first of all, and be a good example,” Ibarra said. “Of course, making the playoffs is our initial plan. Individually, if I can beat my team record for most single season strikeouts from last year, that would be pretty cool too.”
In addition to his dedication to the sport, Ibarra has numerous contingencies for his future.
“You always need to have a few backup plans, just in case baseball doesn’t work out,” he said. “I like the automotive industry. I’m really into cars and rebuilding stuff, getting into motors, etc. I’d like to be somewhere in that industry. Hopefully, as a master mechanic one day.”
Further establishing himself as a jack of all trades, the senior Patriot is also a talented musician.
“I actually play the accordion,” Ibarra laughed. “My dad was the one who got me into that because he’s always loved Mexican music. I started learning around my freshman year and I used to play in a band with my buddies, either on the accordion or the guitar. We would perform for my family.” Ibarra and the rest of GCM will look to make some music on the diamond this Spring.
Stay tuned for the encore.