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Athletics: 3 Warriors sign to extend their athletic careers

Katie Foley, Jack Schafer and Meghan Smith all signed letters of intent Wednesday, Nov. 10.

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Brainerd Warrior athletes Katie Foley, left, Jack Schafer and Meghan Smith signed letters of intent Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at Brainerd High School for college scholarships next year. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

In the wee morning hours before most humans even rise out of bed, three Brainerd Warriors student-athletes were extending their athletic careers.

It was college signing day Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Brainerd High School and seniors Katie Foley, Jack Schafer and Meghan Smith were front and center in the new meeting room. All three signed their NCAA National Letters of Intent to continue their education and athletic careers at the next level.

Foley signed to play women’s golf at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Schafer will play baseball at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona and Smith chose softball at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

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Brainerd activities director Jack Freeman praised the three and said they had the tools to enjoy successful college careers.

“These three embody the values of our department,” Freeman said. “They’ve learned grit, care, positivity, responsibility and trustworthiness. All the traits they can lean on at the next level when things get tough. These three all qualify as scholar All-Central Lakes Conference athletes. They have a cumulative grade-point average among the three of them of 3.84, which is proof they can balance their time commitment and continue to make their academics their No. 1 priority when they get to the next level.”

This spring, Foley will start her sixth varsity season on the Warrior girls golf team. She’s already a two-time state participant with another shot to make an appearance at the Class 3A State tournament.

“She’s worked hard and has been a fine example of how hard work will pay off,” said Warrior head girls golf coach Todd Person. “I’m glad that Katie will continue her golf career at the collegiate level as she has unlimited potential as a golfer.

“Her positive outlook has always been, and I’m sure will continue to be, her No. 1 asset.”

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Foley cited three reasons she chose St. Thomas. The first was head coach Katie Henneman followed by the University’s campus and finally, the fact that her older brother Michael was hired as the head golf professional at Somerset Country Club in Mendota Heights, about 10 minutes away from St. Thomas.

“It’s awesome to have it figured now and just focus on getting scholarships and enjoying the rest of my senior year, especially as I head into the golf season,” Foley said. “The funny thing is about six months ago I was deadset on going to St. Andrews in Scotland. St. Thomas wasn’t even on my radar and hadn’t been. We connected with the coach, who we’ve known forever, down at a high school golf tournament in the Cities and then she told me she had accepted the position and that’s what sparked my interest.”

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Schafer started by thanking God, his parents, his coaches, his friends and teammates and apologizing for anyone he forgot.

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His head coach had this to say about him.

“Jack Schafer represents the Warrior Way as well as anyone I’ve ever coached,” Warrior head baseball coach Trent Grams said. “He is a team-first athlete that puts his best foot forward both academically and athletically. His academic and athletic commitment to St. Mary’s is just one achievement of many more to come. We are proud that Jack is a part of the Warrior baseball program.”

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Schafer said he was looking at a handful of schools, but as soon as he left St. Mary’s he knew he wanted to return.

“It just felt like home,” he said. “It was that intangible. It just felt like home. After calling coach (Nick) Winecke and telling him that I wanted to commit, it was a weight off my shoulders. I feel like this was a big problem for me last year. I put so much weight on my shoulders trying to get noticed. Now that I have that whole thing out of the way, it’s going to be 10 times more fun.”

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Smith made the hard choice of selecting softball over volleyball. The three-sport athlete is also starting her third varsity basketball season as well.

“It was actually a very hard decision,” Smith said. “I thought about doing both sports for a while, but I just recently decided that I wanted to focus on school since I’m going to be doing a tougher major. I’m still doing softball so I didn’t really need to do two sports. I figured I could always do an intramural volleyball league if I wanted.”

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She said she’s going to miss making memories with her teammates, especially the ones where Brainerd beats Moorhead.

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“I will start with saying what everyone expects to hear, Meghan will be a three-year starter in softball,” Warrior head coach Shane Jordan said. “She has been voted Miss Defense, an Athlete of the Week, an all-conference player and a captain. She is a three-sport athlete. She is a 3.8 grade-point average kid whose favorite class is human biology and plans to attend Gustavus in the fall to major in pre-chiropractic and minor in chemistry. Safe to say her future is bright.

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“What most do not know about Meghan. She has a huge heart. She changed her entire swing because her coaches asked her to. She played catcher even when she didn't want to and she plays a position that requires her to play 25 feet away from a batter. Don't confuse her grit, her passion, her competitiveness for anything other than her want to win. She is a Warrior with the heart of a lion and I'm happy she's on my team.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

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