(WAOW) - The NCAA's early signing period began Wednesday morning and runs through November 17th. Three central Wisconsin athletes all held letter of intent signings for the media on the opening day of the period.
In Merrill, Blue Jays basketball star Paul Jesperson put pen to paper honoring his July decision to play for Tony Bennett at Virginia. Jesperson was 1st-team all-state last winter. His 1,065 career points are just 60 shy of the school record at Merrill. The senior has started every game for the Blue Jays since his freshman year.
Wausau Newman senior Taylor Thomas made a verbal commitment to UW-Green Bay during her sophomore year. Thomas made it official by signing her letter of intent first thing Wednesday morning. A 3rd-team all-state selection last season, Thomas helped the Cardinals claim the state championship. She's also a 3-time all-conference pick and the reigning league player of the year.
It's not just basketball stars heading to the next level. In Wisconsin Rapids, 3-time Wisconsin Valley Conference swimmer of the year Becca Weiland signs on with Minnesota. The senior is a national champion and record holder in the 50 fly, and all-American in the 50 and 100 free, and all-state in 4 events. She holds 18 school records, 6 conference marks, and 11 other records in pools across the state. On Saturday, she will represent Rapids in 4 events at the state swim meet.
Other local athletes who have informed Newsline 9 of their signings include Marshfield's Brad Dolezal, who will ink a letter of intent to wrestle at Minnesota on Friday...classmate Cale Zuiker, who on Thursday will sign on to play basketball at Youngstown State...SPASH softball star Kelly Franks, who is bound for St. Cloud State...and Wausau East swimmers Lauren Sichterman (Miami of Ohio) and Evan Miller (UW-Green Bay).