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Seniors sign commitment for track, soccer

Seniors sign surrounded by families. Two PHS athletes committed to further their sports careers by signing with McPherson College during a special ceremony recently in the indoor facility surrounded by family, friends and teammates.

Both of these athletes will attend the NAIA school in Kansas – Dylan Templeman will be a thrower on the track team, while Eugenio Cervantes will play soccer. They join Ellis Woodruff and Katy Wilson, who previously committed to play softball for the school in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference last month.

Head soccer Coach Kent Ackmann looks forward to seeing Eugenio’s potential played out on the college soccer field.

“Eugenio provided tremendous leadership and toughness from the center back position this year,” Coach Ackmann said. “He was the vocal leader at the back. I expect Eugen​io to continue to develop his skill. Eugenio embraced a new part of his game this year and ended up becoming very good at recognizing the depth of the opposing forwards and midfielders and finding the lines between and behind them. I anticipate him continuing to evolve that part of his game and becoming a very dominant central defender.”

Head track Coach Ervin Chandler spoke highly of Dylan’s contribution.

“Dylan has been our high point man for three years,” Coach Chandler said. “As far as I can remember he has placed in the top three at every meet he has competed in shot and disc. I've enjoyed coaching Dylan in track, as well as football. He will be missed. Dylan is going to excel in whatever he does. He has improved his discus and shot distance every year with great gains. Coach Spies at McPherson is going to enjoy coaching Dylan for the next four years.”

Students show off their McPherson cakes. Seniors with their coaches. The two signees said making a college choice was easy.

“I decided to attend McPherson because it is farther away, and I can get a different experience there than I would in Texas while still having a similar smaller town feel,” Dylan said.

Eugenio was drawn to the academics, as well as the soccer program.

“The biggest reason is the education program,” Eugenio said. “Ninety-eight percent of McPherson graduates have employment within six months of graduation. That’s a crazy stat. Not to mention, the professors are able to get a lot of hands on with students and even set them up for internships for the major they’re pursuing. But also they have such an amazing soccer program and coach. When I first met Coach Quint, I knew immediately he was all about success. I cannot wait to be taken under his wing to advance my playing ability to a whole new level.”

Eugenio also mentioned friendship as an attraction to McPherson.

“Another reason is because my best friend will be attending with me,” he said. “Dylan has always treated me like brother and taken care of me through the hardest times, like when I lost my grandpa last May. He’s the greatest friend anyone could ask for, and I’m glad I can say I’ll be going with my best friend.”

The players are excited to have reached this occasion and have this big step toward college behind them.

“Continuing my track career to the next level means that all my hard work has paid off and now I can continue to work endlessly at the next level,” Dylan said. “I'm looking forward to the increased level of competition to push me to be the best I can be.”

Eugenio emphasized the importance of signing day.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “From the time my feet first touched a soccer ball, I knew this game was meant for me. I wanted to be great and promised myself that I would make it to college to play soccer. It’s crazy how many hours I’ve put into this beautiful game and still love it more and more each day. I’m so thankful for the opportunity and blessed to keep playing the game that I love so dearly.”

The players get support from their friends. The players were also appreciative of the effort placed on their success.

“I would like to thank my dad for being my track coach for the past six years and friends and family supporting me through the years,” Dylan said. “I would also like to thank Coach Chandler and the coaching staff at Princeton and the nice facilities that allowed me to throw more often than other schools.”

Eugenio also gave credit where credit is due.

“First off, I want to thank my beautiful mother and grandma for being the strongest women on the earth,” he said. “They have sacrificed so much for my siblings and I. They have always pushed me to be my very best and always told me I can do anything I put my mind to. I also want to thank my grandpa. Growing up, he was the only father figure I had. I idolized him and wanted to be him. I’m a great young man because of him and will forever value all the lessons he taught me.

“I’d like to thank Coach (Paul) Kunkle for taking me in as a 7th-grader and pushing to be an amazing defender,” Eugenio continued. “He pushed me even when I thought I couldn’t handle it because he knew exactly what I was capable of. Coach Ackmann took over my final year and introduced another side of the game to me. He taught me how to utilize my strength on the ball and also my intelligence on the field. I cannot thank him for making me realize how much this game requires intelligence.”

Templeman and Cervantes have excelled for the varsity programs. Dylan broke the school’s discus record with a throw of 175 feet and 6 inches and was named one of the top 25 throwers in the United States. Eugenio was named 2nd team All-District and Academic All-State and was on the PHS All-Tournament Team.

Fellow seniors join Dylan and Eugenio at signing. It wasn’t hard for the players to know what they would miss about playing as a Panther.

“I will miss the family vibe that the track players and coaches have,” Dylan said.

Eugenio added: “The thing I’ll miss the most is being surrounded by people I know. I love the true bond that I’ve had with long-time friends on the field. My teammates were always there to lean on in my time of need. These guys made it one fun ride these four years, and I’m going to miss them all when I leave.”