HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS: Permian sends 14 more student-athletes to college ranks

More than a dozen Permian High School student athletes announced their college choices Thursday, including three bound for NCAA Division I programs.

A total of 14 seniors from seven sports made their commitments during a signing ceremony at the Permian Fieldhouse, choosing schools ranging from junior colleges to NCAA Division III to NAIA.

Gymnast Coltyn Roemisch signed with Arizona State, while girls track and field athlete Mia Black inked with Texas-Arlington and football’s Brayden Rhea commited to Abilene Christian.

Roemisch said Arizona State provides him the opportunity to pursue his goal of becoming a gymnastics coach.

“I just wanted to go for the gymnastics program and the opportunity to pretty much learn how to coach there,” he said. “My coach (Chris Soto) is the one that pretty much set me on this path of wanting to go to Arizona to learn how to coach and show my love of the sport. Hopefully, I can bring others to love the sport, as well.”

Roemisch helped Permian to a third-place team finish at last month’s state meet with a ninth-place finish in the all-around along with fourth place in the parallel bars and 10th place in the rings. He said he is prepared to concentrate on fewer events, but still plans to compete in all six if given the chance.

“I’ll try to compete in everything, but when it comes to it, if I don’t make it in those events I’m not going to be too mad about it,” he said. “I plan to at least try to compete in three events, but I will try for all six events.”

Black, a four-time regional qualifier, will compete in the shot put at UTA.

“I’ve been to UTA as a regional qualifier for four years and noticed they have a really good program,” Black said. “This is what I’ve been training to do and I just wanted to be at a place where I’m happy. I feel that I can make the move from here to there.”

Oscar Sotelo of the boys cross country and track and field programs signed with Western Texas College. Sotelo said the junior-college route was a better fit personally while still allowing him to compete against four-year schools.

“I feel like it’s going to be a good start for me to build myself as a runner and a student-athlete,” Sotelo said. “To get a full ride and everything is pretty nice. That was the goal, to get a full ride, and go out there and compete.

“It still competes with the best runners out there. To get the chance to run with those good runners will help me build myself up and get better at it.”

Rhea, who played defensive back for the football team, recorded 16 tackles with one pass breakup last fall. He also had one reception for 45 yards on offense.

“Now we’ve got 10 guys going to play college football,” Panthers football coach Jeff Ellison said. “We’re extremely proud of Brayden and everything he’s done at Permian. He did an outstanding job for us on defense and special teams.”

Girls soccer had six players sign. Tobi McCoy is headed to Northumbria University in Newcastle, England, while the other Lady Panthers are staying closer to home. Natalie Terry and Briana Moore signed with Wayland Baptist, Tyeliyah Jones and Elissa Easley are headed to Cisco College and Kendra Cecil committed to Howard Payne.

McCoy said the opportunity to play overseas was attractive from both a soccer and cultural standpoint.

“I went over there last summer for 10 days and fell in love with it,” she said. “I love the style of play on the soccer side and I love how they coach. I love the culture. I love the people. It’s just a really good atmosphere around me.”

Isaac Herrera of the boys soccer team also inked with Wayland Baptist, while Hunter Shults and Zach Whisenant committed to McMurry.

Volleyball’s Chloe Rivera committed to Hardin-Simmons, giving Permian’s programs a representative at all three Abilene universities.