By Reagan Hoverman Wednesday, Feb. 2, was a big day for high school athletes in Pierce County and around the country, as thousands of high school studentathletes signed letters of intent to play …
By Reagan Hoverman
Wednesday, Feb. 2, was a big day for high school athletes in Pierce County and around the country, as thousands of high school studentathletes signed letters of intent to play athletics at the next level in their college careers.
For Prescott, four senior student-athletes signed letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon. Ariana Temmers signed a letter of intent to play softball at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Jack Olson signed his letter to play football at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Liz Rohl signed her letter to play golf at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and Aiden Russell signed his letter to play football at Northern State University.
The signing-day ceremony for Prescott was held in the high school library. Friends, family, coaches, teammates and members of the community gathered to celebrate the four aforementioned students who will continue their athletic careers at the next level. Prescott Athletic Director Andrew Caudill was the first to speak at the podium and address the crowd. Caudill welcomed the spectators, athletes and coaches, and introduced the first to speak about his respective athlete, varsity softball coach Nick Johnson speaking about Ariana Temmers.
Johnson began his remarks by speaking about how last year, during Temmers’ junior season, he was a first-year coach. He spoke about how she helped lead the team while he was still adjusting to his first-year position.
“I got an opportunity to coach her as a first-year coach and that was pretty special,” Johnson said. “To have her as a captain and be a leader as a junior was a huge part of our success last year to go to the state championship game.”
Johnson spoke extensively about Temmers and her talents on the field as well as her character off of the field. One of the biggest things that stood out to him was her competitive fire for competition.
“She hates losing more than she appreciates and likes winning,” Johnson said. “If I told her to run through a wall, she would run through a wall. If I told her she needs to get hit by a pitch, she will get hit by a pitch. She will do all of that stuff because she is that competitive and will do anything for her team. It’s been a privilege to have her one year and now for a second year. We have big goals in mind.”
Temmers was selected to the All-State team as a junior, an honor that is typically held by seniors who have four years of playing experience by the time the season is over. Johnson said that as good as she has been on the field, she is an even better person off of the field.
“I know a lot of coaches say this, but it’s one thing to be that great of an athlete, but another thing to be a better person,” Johnson said. “Ari (Temmers) is by far – she is all that and above. Congratulations Ari.”
After the ceremony, Temmers spoke about signing day and what it means to her, her coaches, family and friends. She also spoke about her decision to attend UW-Oshkosh.
“I was kind of nervous (about signing day),” Temmers said. “I’m just sitting there signing a piece of paper. It was fun though. Everyone in the halls at school would say congrats and that’s awesome, it’s fun because I play softball with Liz (Rohl), and Aiden Russell and Jack Olson are here and it’s cool there are multiple people signing here today.”
Liz Rohl: UW-Stout, girls golf The second speaker of the afternoon was Chad Salay, the head coach of the Prescott girls golf team. Salay addressed the other student-athletes in the room in Russell, Olson and Temmers and congratulated them on their success and advancing to the next level. Then he began speaking about Rohl.
“The word that keeps coming back to me (about Rohl) is irreplaceable,” Salay said at the ceremony. “We certainly have a number of girls here that are going to shoot some great scores and maybe even match some of Rohl’s scores, but what we’re not going to be able to replace is the person and leader that Liz (Rohl) was for us.”
Salay spoke about three aspects of Rohl that make her different than almost any other player that he’s ever coached. He stated that Rohl is one of the nicest people that he’s ever met and that has contributed to her being a leader for the team.
“She is caring and competitive,” Salay said. “She is one of the nicest people you will meet. She is just an unbelievable person that people gravitate toward. On the same note, which is kind of contradictory, she has this incredibly fierce competitor in her – she wants to win at everything.”
Salay provided a hilarious anecdote about Rohl during a trip down the Wisconsin Dells. He spoke about a round of mini-golf that was supposed to be fun for the team and quickly turned into Rohl showing her competitive fire in the best way possible.
“We go to a preseason tournament down in Wisconsin Dells and we took the girls out for a fun mini-golf round and all of the sudden it turned into The Masters,” Salay said while chuckling. “Liz (Rohl) was grinding out every putt, she was talking trash about how she’s going to beat me. She still talks about that.”
He also spoke about how humble Rohl is considering the accomplishments she has on her athletic resume. She is the captain of a two-time state championship golf team and carries herself just like none of that ever happened. She doesn’t go bragging to anyone about her accomplishments.
The final aspect he spoke about was about her legendary work ethic, which he said is as impressive now, as a two-time state champion, as it was when she first got to the high school level and was trying to make the team.
“That hard work paid off and I’m so incredibly proud of her,” Salay said. “I’m looking forward to the journey ahead for her.”
After the celebration was over, Rohl took some time to speak about what the signing day experience was like for her and how special her high school career has been.
“I never expected to be here,” Rohl said. “Two-time state champion, a couple of runners-up in softball, I never really saw myself as the leader I’ve become. I’m proud of all of my accomplishments with my teammates and all of the friends I’ve made along the way.”
Similar to Temmers, Rohl was surprised by how many people showed up for the signing day event. She also reflected on what the process was like of signing a letter of intent to play college golf.
“It’s indescribable and unbelievable,” Rohl said. “I felt like the whole town was here. I didn’t expect that. To grow up in a small town and see the community come together for four student-athletes that are going on to the next level, it was so amazing so see.” Jack Olson: University of Wisconsin River Falls, football The next speaker at the ceremony was Prescott High School head football coach Jordan Hansen, who quickly jumped into his comments about Jack Olson and how important he was to Hansen’s success as a young head coach in his first two years with the program.
“Coming in as a new head coach, I had to win the kids over a little bit in trying to change the program,” Hansen said. “Jack (Olson) is one of those guys that was all-in from day one. He wanted to win, and he wanted to get this thing going. He’s a huge reason why we had a great season last year and this year.”
Hansen stated that on every football team there are natural leaders who can speak to the team and get other players to follow them. According to Hansen, Olson is one of those players.
“On your team, you have leaders that lead by example and leaders that lead with their voice,” Hansen said. “Olson did a really good job of leading with his voice. In our game against Durand, we were up 21-3 at halftime and got beat. He came up to me at the end of the game and said, ‘Coach, we need to get in better conditioning. That was the most out of shape I’ve ever felt.’ We got after it and that really helped.”
Hansen stated that Olson is the type of player that is always looking at how the team can get better. Olson played offense and defensive line for Prescott and was critical to the team’s success over the last couple of years.
“He is a very selfless player,” Hansen said. “He took on a role and was a huge reason why we were able to change our culture. So, Jack, congrats and good luck in your future.”
Olson spoke after the celebration was over about what helped him decide to go to UWRF to continue playing football.
“Senior year after our first or second game, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be done with this after this year,’” Olson said. “(River Falls) texted me. It was either them or Stout. I just liked the facilities at UWRF better.”
Aiden Russell: Northern State University, football The final Prescott studentathlete to be recognized during the ceremony was Aiden Russell, who was also coached by the aforementioned coach Hansen. He started his comments at the podium by speaking about how Russell transformed himself throughout his high school career.
“I don’t think I can say enough good things about Aiden,” Hansen said. “Where he came from in my first few years here to where he ended maturity-wise and if you look at him physically and just the person that he’s become. It’s been awesome to see.”
Coach Hansen stated that all of the results that Russell has earned on the field are because of the hard work that he puts in off the field in the weight room and during the offseason. He spoke about Russell’s work ethic.
“He’s always in the weight room trying to better himself,” Russell said. “He set the school record for rushing yards, he’s an all-region linebacker. Watching him do his thing, you see players like that one time in a generation. It’s been fun to coach him and to follow his career.”
For Russell, part of the draw to Northern State University, a Division 2 school in South Dakota, was the new approximately $64 million facility that was built for athletics.
“When I went to visit, they just got that new facility which is probably the best in that state,” Russell said on signing day. “It was crazy. The field, the weight room, it was great. Everything else I went to visit, nothing topped that. They have a really good lifting program and that’s important to me.”
For Russell, Olson, Rohl and Temmers, signing day was another step in their athletic careers. While they began building their athletic dreams as a Cardinal in Prescott, they will now expand new horizons to other areas at the collegiate level as they continue as student- athletes at the next level.