By: Seth Kinker, email@example.com
On Mar. 5, two Manchester athletes signed their letters of intent to compete collegiately.
After being rescheduled due to a snow day earlier this winter, seniors Devon Kelly (Concordia, Basketball) and Rayna Edwards (Albion, Soccer) both signed on the dotted line in front of friends, family, and teammates at Manchester High School.
In addition to those in attendance; friends, family, and Kelly and Edwards also spoke about their signing day. Both Kelly and Edwards moved to Manchester when they were in elementary school and both sets of parents thanked those in attendance for welcoming them to Manchester with open arms.
Kelly was a four-year varsity basketball player with a 3.9 GPA. Despite reaggravating an ankle injury early this year, he led the team in rebounding 10 of the 18 games he played, recorded eight double-doubles, and earned the defensive player of the game award nine times for the Dutchmen.
He averaged 11.3 points per game with 9.3 rebounds per game his senior season and 30 blocked shots on the year.
“Not only was I able to watch you physically grow, but to be able to mature as a man and as a great basketball player as well. I love you man, and congratulations.,” said River Spitler, a longtime friend and teammate of Kelly’s on the soccer field and the basketball court.
“For me, I think it’s pretty cool,” said Manchester Soccer Boys and Girls head coach Travis Baker. “I was fortunate enough to coach both of them so it’s pretty cool to see both of them to sign college letters on intent. Devon played soccer but I knew, he was 6’ 8”.”
“Personally, for Rayna, I’ve only coached her for one season but always knew of her abilities and how good of a player she was from their previous coach,” added Baker. “She’s a great leader, person, willing to do whatever we need her to do. She’s very much about the team, for a player of her ability that speaks loads to her character.”
Edwards has been a leader for the Lady Dutch on the pitch, gradually growing into a bigger role each year. Last year she helped make the transition for first year head coach Baker, who had coached the boys and decided to coach the girls when the spot opened up, that much easier.
In her first year with a bigger role on the team, she excelled, leading the team with 29 goals, scoring in ten consecutive games. She was named first team All-State, the only player in the area to do so, while racking up first team All-Regional, first team All-Conference, and Academic All-Conference honors in her junior year.