On Wednesday at Durango High School, eight student-athletes signed their National Letters of Intent to continue their athletic and academic careers in college.
Among the eight who signed, five are members of the cross-country and track and field teams, while other commitments came in football, soccer and even crew.
Here’s a closer look at each athlete:
Aidan Fitzgerald, University of PortlandFitzgerald made waves last fall when he shattered a 31-year-old school record in the 5-kilometer distance with a time of 15 minutes, 5.31 seconds at the Desert Twilight XC Festival in Arizona. The University of Portland, one of the nation’s most storied programs, noticed. Fitzgerald chose Portland over a host of other famed running programs, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado State University, Portland State University, Chico State University, the University of Wyoming and the University of Washington.
“The history of Portland, and really all of Oregon for distance running, is special, and it was one of the reasons I checked it out was because of the history surrounding the program,” Fitzgerald said. “The value that the community and the city of Portland put on running is hard to top. The coaches and team were great, and I knew it was the place for me.”
In the last two seasons, the Pilots have been close to winning the NCAA Division I national championship after they finished second in 2017 and third last fall. Fitzgerald, son of Mike and Shari, is undecided on his major but is considering studying environmental science, ethics or possibly law.
Noah Bodewes, Colorado State UniversityBodewes will stay in state, as another key member from the long-distance squad will compete at a major running program in CSU.
“First off, the coach showed interest in me from the get-go,” Bodewes said. “Another big selling point was how they develop their athletes. They’ve had a lot of their athletes who are in the same position as me who will come in, and four years later, you’ll see them having high finishes at the national meet. The way they improve through their four years was really impressive to me.”
Bodewes, son of Joe and Molly, is undecided on his major and also considered Idaho State and CU-Boulder.
Marcus Flint, Pepperdine UniversityFlint applied to a host of elite universities but decided to head for the sand and surf of Malibu, California, the home of Pepperdine University, where he will continue his running career.
Flint, son of Abbey and Ken, said he applied to Stanford University, Pomona College, Brown University and Yale University.
“It was a bunch of selective schools, but I think in the end, I’ll be more happy out here, anyways,” Flint said. “You can’t beat running in Malibu, and Pepperdine is a great program, and I am super excited.”
Flint plans on majoring in computer science and would like to one day get a law degree.
Emma Jaber, Seattle UniversityGirls tennis senior captain Emma Jaber will take on uncharted waters next fall at Seattle University.
Jaber signed to the row crew in college, something she has never done before.
“I’ve never rowed before, but as much as it sounds like I’m a part of the college admission cheating scandal, I promise you I’m not,” joked Jaber. “Really, their coach was forwarded my application because I was a tennis player and just reached out, and I thought there might be a scholarship involved, but little did I know that they were D-I. I decided it would be a great way to meet friends, stay in shape, learn a new skill, and I wanted to give it a shot. When I committed, it almost felt like I was in a simulation just because I never would have expected it to be my new reality.”
Jaber, daughter of Daniel and Jade, applied to 10 schools but came down to the University of Denver and Western Washington University. Jaber is a No. 1 doubles player this year and was also key in helping the Demons reach the state championship last year as a team.
She intends to major in communications with a specialization in journalism.
Bekah Moenning, Metro State University-DenverA key member on this year’s cross-country and track and field team, Moenning will continue her running career in Denver, racing at Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contenders Metropolitan State University-Denver.
“Their goals for the program really stood out to me, and the cross-country coach told me that his biggest goal is to create a family,” Moenning said. “That’s what I’ve grown up in with Durango, and I want to be a part of helping create that, and want to help out with their goals.”
Moenning currently runs a 5:44.24 in the 1,600-meter race, while she helped DHS finish in seventh place last fall at the state championships.
Moenning, daughter of Amy and Joshua, also considered Northern Arizona University, CSU and CU-Boulder.
She plans on majoring in psychology and minoring in business.
Teslin Stecher, Lawrence UniversityStecher has the unique opportunity to run as well as fence, something he has been involved in for years. Lawrence, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, is a Division III school and has a strong program.
“It was one of the only schools in the U.S. where I could compete in both sports that I love, and that’s really unique and isn’t available at most schools,” Stecher said. “Fencing is only prominent out East, but I have always loved it. The student-to-professor ratio is great, and it all appealed to me.”
Stecher, son of Denise and Marty, also considered Brandeis University and Colorado College. He is undecided about his major.
Dawson Marcum, Friends UniversityThe heart and soul of last year’s football squad, Marcum signed with NAIA Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.
Marcum considered other NCAA Division III schools, Nebraska Wesleyan University and University of Puget Sound, but liked Friends’ honesty.
“They came late to the game, but what stood out to me was our first conversation,” Marcum said. “They were very outgoing and forthcoming and were telling me everything that was good about the school, but they also told me their flaws and what they were trying to do to fix them. It came out to me as very personal, and it fell into place.”
Marcum was DHS’ leading rusher last year with more than 1,100 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. On the other end of the ball, he made 94 tackles, two interceptions, forced three fumbles and recovered one.
Marcum, son of Damian and Stephanie, said he intends to major in business administration and will minor in supply chain management.
Logan Fullington, Sierra Nevada CollegeIt was the best of both worlds for Fullington, a DHS soccer player who committed to Sierra Nevada College in Incline Village, Nevada, located near Lake Tahoe, as he will be able to play soccer and ski for the NAIA school.
“It was the best-fit school for me, and I love playing soccer, but I also equally love skiing, so to do both will be really special,” Fullington said. “I’m looking forward to competing for some playing time my freshman year, which was a big selling point for me. The soccer program has only been around for three years, so to be able to make a mark on a new program, it will mean a lot.”
Fullington was instrumental for the Demons as he helped propel them to a 14-2-1 record and a second-round berth in the Class 4A playoffs. He scored 13 goals and also had 11 assists. He also considered Metro State and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, where he participated in identification camps at both schools in an effort to get more looks.
Fullington, son of Jonathan and Shawna, said he is considering majoring in film.