HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: OHS seniors honored at signing ceremony

While the 11 Odessa High athletes had already signed their letters of intent, a special ceremony was held to recognize them for their years of hard work Wednesday at OHS Fieldhouse.

Eleven Broncho seniors signed for eight different schools.

Odessa High offensive lineman Kristian Howard will be playing football at William Woods University in Fulton, Mo.

“I’m very excited,” Howard said. “I’m really hoping to go out there and show them what I’m capable of. The coaches are nice. The school is nice. The place is very beautiful.”

This will be the first year that William Woods (a school that competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) will be fielding a football team.

The school will be competing in the American Midwest Conference.

“The coaches made me really feel welcomed there,” Howard said of his reasoning for signing to play at William Woods.

Playing at the junior college level, Isabella Ordaz won’t be going far from home as the Lady Broncho volleyball player will be competing at Odessa College this fall.

“I’m really excited and I’m really thankful to be given this opportunity,” Ordaz said. “I get to finally play at the next level.”

Last year, the Lady Wranglers (coached by Dayana Acevedo-Rios) made it back to the NJCAA National Tournament since 2021 as the team finished 28-8.

Ordaz said it was also the team’s morale that helped persuade her to join.

“It’s not just their record, but also their coaching staff,” Ordaz said. “All the girls, you can tell that they are close together and they have a good relationship with each other.”

Ordaz, who played libero at Odessa High, is looking forward to being close to home. ?

“It’s very nice because I’m a very family-oriented person,” Ordaz said. “It’s great to be close to family.”

Odessa High volleyball player Isabella Ordaz, sitting, poses for a photo with her friends before the signing ceremony Wednesday at OHS Fieldhouse. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

Ceon Lazo will be playing basketball at Wayland Baptist.

“It’s been a dream of mine to play at the next level,” Lazo said. “I’m excited to get this opportunity to continue to work hard.”

Wayland Baptist is coming off a 23-11 showing from the 2023-24 season.

Lazo said he was won over by the players and coaching staff at Wayland Baptist.

“I liked how the people are involved in everything and how the coaches care about you,” Lazo said. “That’s what stood out to me.”

Odessa High boys basketball head coach Jermil Lewis is ecstatic to see his player sign on to the next level.

“It’s definitely a blessing to see any kid sign on to the next level,” Lewis said. “For Lazo to go through his high school career and get a scholar, it’s a blessing.”

Lewis talked about what Lazo brought to the table at Odessa High.

“Every time he played, you saw resiliency from him,” Lewis said. “He’s always that kind of kid. He’s always willing to play hard.”

Other players that were honored at the ceremony included football players Zane Minjarez (signing for Wayland Baptist), Jayven Gonzales and Gerardo Vasquez (both signing for Chadron State).

Odessa High head football coach Dusty Ortiz speaks at the signing ceremony Wednesday at OHS Fieldhouse. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

“I’m just happy with all the hard work paying off for them,” Odessa high head coach Dusty Ortiz said of his football players. “It’s been their dream to go and play on at the next level. They did what it took in the offseason and they were able to perform in front of everybody and get this opportunity.”

Zoelley Herrera will be playing volleyball at Dallas Christian College while Sydney Dutchover and Celina Lugo will be cheerleading at UTPB and Sonoma State, respectively.

Arianna Avalos and DeAndra Garcia-Bass signed on for athletic training at Odessa College.