Dreams come true: students make collegiate choices on signing day
(Left to right) Kylie Auger, Sadie Brockbank, Ashley Cardozo, Ben Bywater and Sawyer Pierce come together for a photo just after signing to play with their intended colleges. (Olympus High School)
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Olympus High School celebrated national signing day for five of its athletes on Feb. 1 with three girls soccer players and two football players.
“I can’t think of a time when we’ve had this much interest in our athletes or this much recognition of our athletes,” said Athletic Director Kael Ashton. He estimated this is the most Division 1 athletes signed from Olympus since in his 18 years at the school.
Ben Bywater verbally committed to Brigham Young University last summer; he was also being recruited by Utah State, but said it was an easy decision.
“It was a dream come true,” Bywater said of his decision to sign for BYU. “I’ve been a BYU fan my whole life so getting offered by them was just like my dream. It was an easy decision — that’s where I wanted to go.”
Other signees included Sawyer Pierce, Air Force; Kylie Auger, Southern Virginia University; Sadie Brockbank, Utah Valley University; and Ashley Cardozo, Utah State University.
Pierce played quarterback for the Titans while Bywater did a little bit of everything in his senior season as the team’s leading rusher and second-leading tackler.
“They’re both obviously college-caliber athletes. They’ve both been heavily recruited, I’m very excited for both of them,” said Aaron Whitehead, Olympus head football coach.
Bywater said the whole coaching staff at BYU was Facetiming him the morning of signing day as part of BYU’s signing day live.
“It was cool, they just kinda sucked me in and I was like part of the family right then and there,” Bywater said. Before lacing up for the Cougars, Bywater will leave to serve an LDS mission this summer.
“I’m excited, no nervousness, I’m excited for everything. Maybe I am a little bit nervous, but you know it’s just football,” Bywater said, who is expected to play as flash linebacker for the Cougar’s 4-3 defense. It’s similar to what linebacker Fred Warner currently plays for BYU.
Whitehead said he expects both players to do great things. He said Pierce is the type of kid you would want to represent your country.
“He’s extremely disciplined, he has great integrity, makes good decisions. I’m excited for him, I think he’ll be a great fit there,” Whitehead said.
He also said Bywater has “a lot of work ahead and he’s the type of guy that doesn’t shy away from work.”
Brockbank, who plays club with La Roca, finished her senior year with over 20 goals for the Titans. Though Cardozo missed most of her senior season with an injury, she was among the 4A leaders in assists throughout her first three years at Olympus. Auger will join other former Titans Lily Winterton and Anne Powell at Southern Virginia.
Ashton said all five are excellent role models for young kids to follow.
“They’re all great kids, work hard, good examples of our school and tradition we have here,” Ashton said. “It’s fun to see those kids achieve, realize their lifelong goals.”
Seeing five signees from Olympus, Ashton said, is a sign of how well the sports teams are doing.
“It’s a tribute to all our coaches and the athletes and their parents. A lot of people buy in, they sacrifice. It’s just a great thing, we got a great thing going right now with our programs,” he said.
The Olympus High athletic program has enjoyed a recent spell of success with five state championships in the last six years, having gone the previous 12 years without one. That includes back-to-back girls tennis championships along with boys basketball and boys cross-country in 2016.
Ashton felt it could be a culmination from many different factors, from the coaches’ dedication and students’ hard work to the school’s new facilities.
“But I think there’s just a lot of good athletes that are here at the school. A lot of programs are being more successful than they’ve been for a while,” Ashton said.