When NJCAA put a halt on its sports seasons, it also paused recruiting by member schools.
That includes East Central College, which will field four teams in the 2020-21 season.
Brad Wallach’s softball team made the most progress prior to the halt, signing nine players for next year’s team.
Signing in December were:
• Nikki Abbott, Incarnate Word Academy;
• Hailey Clooney, Seckman;
• Ashleigh Damazyn, Crystal City;
• Eva Dawson, Fulton;
• Kelly Ferguson, Timberland;
• Maddie Greco, Pacific;
• Lilly Prichard, Pacific; and
• Haley Schulte, Parkway West.
Since that time, Wallach has added Salem’s Addie Konkel.
The Falcons had played 10 games, going 3-7 while winning their last three, prior to the shutdown.
East Central had six sophomores on this season’s team. The NJCAA announced spring sports athletes would not be charged a year of eligibility, meaning they could come back in 2021.
Athletic Director Jay Mehrhoff speculated that most will move to four-year schools. Two have signed with William Woods University and others likely will meet graduation requirements and won’t be able to return.
Other programs have been working around the shutdown to fill their rosters.
Five players have signed for Lisa Mathes-Peters’ volleyball Falcons. Players who have signed are:
• Carla Gazani, Granger High School, West Valley City, Utah;
• Cecelia Shelton, Francis Howell Central;
• Maranntha Holliman, Fair Grove;
• Olivia Spanley, Saxony Lutheran; and
• Leah Folse, West Orange High School, Winter Garden Fla.
The soccer program has the most work to do. Martin Clayes was hired in the winter to lead both the men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams scheduled to play in the fall.
Clayes has signed six area players for the inaugural girls soccer team. They are:
• Zoe Gaszak, St. Clair;
• Sierra Pitman, Sullivan
• Sommer Schneider, St. Francis Borgia Regional;
• Destinee Hartmann, Union;
• Abby Layton, Pacific; and
• Sami Starling, Union.
Signed for the men’s team are:
• Ethan Kackley, Sullivan;
• Joao Pedro Louzada, Vitoria, Brazil;
• David Carberry, Dublin, Ireland;
• Jake Bonner, London, England; and
• James Baxter, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Also committed, but not promised roster spots, are:
• Zeke Ruble, Anchorage, Alaska;
• Bailey Hoehne, Pacific;
• Isaac Boboc, Union;
• Aidan Ottens, Borgia; and
• Eric Jankowski, Borgia.