Six Big Rapids athletes ink letters of intent

Six Big Rapids athletes signed letters of intent on Monday. From left to right: Johnny Yonker, Connor Vennix, Halle Stork, Kaitlyn Ray, Morgan Pippin, and Breanna Crosson. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids High School ushered in a new class of college athletes on Monday afternoon, as six athletes pledged their commitments to their respective future colleges in front of family members, friends, classmates, and teachers at the school’s campus.

“Congratulations to all of our student-athletes and their families,” athletic director Dawn Thompson said in an opening statement. “As exciting as this is for our student-athletes, none of this would have been possible without the continued support their families, coaches, teachers, administrators, school staff, and teammates.”

Breanna Crosson signed to Stevenson University (MD.) for hockey, Morgan Pippin (hockey) with Davenport, Kaitlyn Ray (basketball) with Mid-Michigan Community College, Halle Stork (soccer) with  Purdue Northwest, Connor Vennix (baseball) with Glen Oaks Community College, and Johnny Yonker (baseball) with Taylor University.

Crosson has been playing hockey since she was five and played defense for the U20 travel team HTI Stars from September of last year until March. Pippin plays varsity softball and finds time between softball and studies to play competitive hockey.

“I know personally that when I was younger all I wanted to do was play college hockey,” Pippin said. “As a kid, I never thought I’d be able to do that, but now it’s become a reality.”

This past season, Ray averaged 7.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 4.0 assists per game for the Cardinals hoops team. She was a CSAA All-Conference selection this year and has been an All-State soccer player for the Cardinals.

Stork has been a mainstay for the soccer team. A two-time team captain, Stork holds program records for most wins, most shutouts, and fewest goals allowed.

Vennix is a three-year letter-winner and helped lead the baseball team to a league title last season. He batted .326 with 17 RBIs and 29 runs. His teammate Yonker is considered to be one of the top pitchers in the state. Yonker has a 19-3 record as a pitcher and set the school record for ERA last season at 0.60.

For the athletes, years of hard work and dedication led to this moment.

“It feels really good,” Rays said. “This is what we’ve all worked hard for and put the time in for, so it’s kind of motivation for other people. It feels great and I think we’ve all earned it.”

“Kaitlyn and I grew up playing soccer together, but she’s going to basketball and I’m going for hockey,” Crosson said. “Halle and I played a few games together; Morgan and I never played hockey together but we’re both going for hockey so it’s special.”

Crosson plans to study biology and Pippin nursing, while Ray eventually plans on pursuing special education. Stork plans on studying civil engineering and Vennix aims to get core requirements out of the way at Glen Oaks and transfer to a four-year university.

Yonker will study Sports Management and History Education.

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