Bulldog athletes sign letters of intent Wednesday morning at MCHS
Joining in on the fun that is National Signing Day for high school athletes, six Moffat County seniors completed the next step in their athletic careers, committing to play their respective sports at the collegiate level Wednesday morning inside Moffat County High School.
Bulldog seniors Caleb Frink, Hunter Smilanich, Corey Scranton, Krece Papierski, Emaleigh Papierski and Alayna Behrman all signed to compete at the next level, capping off terrific Moffat County athletic careers.
Scranton and Frink each committed to play football at the next level with Frink committing to the Colorado School of Mines, and Scranton committing to go to Western Colorado University. Scranton joins his brother, Cale, with the Mountaineers.
The Papierski twins are going to two different places for different sports, as Emaleigh committed to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs for track and field, while Krece is heading to the University of Mary for baseball.
Papierski’s teammate on the diamond, Hunter Smilanich, committed to Hastings College, signing his letter of intent Wednesday. Behrman is headed to Kansas Wesleyan University for track and field and cross-country.
Frink, who transferred to MCHS for his senior season from Grand Valley High School in Parachute, joins and Orediggers program under head coach Gregg Brandon that went 12-1 in 2019 at the Division II level. Frink is joining former Moffat County wrestler Daniel Caddy on campus, and will land on the roster as a defensive back for the Orediggers ahead of the 2021 season.
Frink led the 2A Western League champ Bulldogs in rushing yards in 2020 with 592 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also added 11 receptions for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns in the passing game. On the defensive side of the ball, Frink recorded 26 tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions for 64 yards.
Scranton, one of the top linemen in the state of Colorado in 2020, joins older brother Cale at Western Colorado University under the direction of long-time head coach Jas Bains, who is in his 11th season at the helm.
“Just to be able to continue my athletic career is exciting,” Corey said.
Though he did not compile any stats on the offensive side of the ball as an offensive lineman, Scranton sure made a statistical impact on the defensive side of the ball. He had 26 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks this year. He also added a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first round of the state playoffs against Resurrection Christian.
The Scrantons will get to compete against each other in practice as Corey will be on the offensive line, while Cale is a defensive back coming off of a redshirt season, which gives him an extra year of eligibility.
The two brothers were also coached at Moffat County High School by their father, Lance, who is looking forward to seeing them play together again.
“It’s really cool,” Scranton said via text to the Craig Press. “I’m excited for them both to be playing together.”
As two siblings reunite at the collegiate level, two other siblings split apart for the first time since birth.
Emaleigh Papierski heads to the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs to compete for a terrific Mountain Lions’ track and field program, which ranks seventh in the country according to the USTFCCCA rankings.
Papierski will be running the heptathlon for the Mountain Lions next season. She joins a roster filled with former Western Slope foes, including Meeker’s Gracie Bradfield.
“I’ve always dreamed of signing and playing at the next level,” Emaleigh said. “It’s cool to do it with the people I grew up with.”
Emaliegh ran multiple events for the Bulldogs. The 2020 track season was canceled, but she impressed in 2019 with her best finish in the 100m being 13.4 seconds. She added a mark of 26.39 seconds in the 200m and a 58.79 mark in the 400m. In her sophomore season, she had 11 first-place finishes, six second-place finishes and five third-place finishes.
As for Krece, he heads off to the University of Mary Marauders’ baseball program, which is looking to turn things around after a 3-9 season in 2020 before their final 37 games of the year were canceled. Their last full season was in 2019 when they went 17-32. Papierski will be working behind the plate for the Marauders, who are coached Tanner Spencer in his second season at the helm.
“It feels pretty good. It was a long time coming,” Krece said. “I’m just glad we could all be here to do it [signing day].”
In the same way that the track season was canceled, so was the 2020 baseball season. As a result, Krece has not played for Moffat County High School since 2019. During that season the catcher was named a 3A Western Slope League All Conference First Team player. Papierski was awarded with that spot due to his .406 batting average with 12 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Fellow Bulldog baseball player Hunter Smilanich will also head to the collegiate level on the diamond, signing with the Hastings College Broncos. Last season the Broncos went 5-12 before the cancelation of the season. Smilanich will be looking to join a pitching staff that had a 5.49 ERA in 2020 under head coach Steve Spongberg.
Despite likely pitching at the collegiate level, Smilanich is looking forward to taking a trot around the bases on a consistent basis for the Broncos.
“I think I’m most excited to hit home runs at the college level,” Smilanich said. “I’m super pumped to do that.”
Smilanich joined Papierski on the 3A Western Slope League All Conference First Team in 2019. That season, Smilanich compiled a stat line of .492 batting average with 21 RBIs, a .779 slugging percentage, six doubles, four triples and a home run. He also swiped seven bags for the Bulldogs.
Like Papierski, Behrman heads to the collegiate level to compete in track and field. Behrman will add cross county to her workload as well for the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, an NAIA team in Salina, Kansas. They are coached by Kyle Hiser who is in his second season at the helm. The team is currently in the middle of their indoor track season.
In Behrman’s sophomore season at Moffat County, she compiled one first-place finish, two second place finishes and one third place finish. Her first-place finish game in the 4x400m, where she ran a time of 4:15.32 at the Coal Ridge Invitational.
At Wednesday’s signing ceremony, the school set up tables with different equipment for each sport on the second floor of Moffat County High School, where athletes signed the required paperwork for college.
The fact that the MCHS seniors had the opportunity to have an official signing day and do it as a group was something that excited them.
“I never, especially with COVID expected to sign but I’m glad we still get to and we still get to do this together even with COVID,” Behrman said.
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