National Letter of Intent signing day is always a big day for high school athletes, and that was certainly the case Wednesday as ten prep standouts from Western Wisconsin made it official as to where they will play collegiately.
Led by the state of Wisconsin's Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Neico Stokke, the Menomonie high school football team had six members of its Big Rivers champion and state semifinalist squad sign national letters of intent to play Division 2 college football.
Stokke, who will play at Minnesota State University in Mankato says it's a thrill for him and his teammates to reap the fruits of their labor on and off the field.
Neico Stokke/Will play at Minnesota State: "I worked hard and had goals for this year, definitely excited that I won that award, very humbling, ready to move on and excited for the next step."
Drew Otto/Will play at Michigan Tech: "It's just cool to share this with my friends, been playing together for the past four years, put a lot of time into it. Just to share it with them is quite an accomplishment, just a good ending to what we had going here."
Lex Pelke/Will play at Minnesota-Duluth: "Just a real nice town, loved the area, the guys that I met when I visited were awesome, obviously they have a nice tradition there, hopefully they can keep it rolling when I get there."
The Mustangs' success under coach Joe La Buda has spanned two decades, the players say while it's been an honor to wear the Menomonie jersey and represent the entire community, they are excited to play at the next level.
Luke Thompson/Will play at Upper Iowa: "Coach La Buda has prepared us for what's going to happen, just not in college, but in life, besides the football aspect, I just love playing here, it's the greatest thing that has happened."
Conner Hanson/Will play at Michigan Tech: "I love high school football, Friday night lights was pretty awesome, but one door closes, another one opens, we'll see where this takes me."
Andrew Kryshak/Will play at Bemidji State: "The amount of time we put in here, the discipline, it was hard at times but it will help in the long run, I love it here, I'll never forget the memories we had here with the players and coaches."
Eau Claire Memorial's Asia Laudal will take her soccer talents to UW-Green Bay next year, Asia signed her letter of intent Wednesday morning to play for the Phoenix.
Asia Laudal/Will play at UW-Green Bay: "It's great to be able to continue on from high school, keep going to college level, so that was real big for me."
Chippewa Falls has two athletes that signed Division 1 scholarships on Wednesday, Andrew Faris will run cross country and track at the University of Alabama, while Austin Byrd is headed to Madison to swim for the University of Wisconsin.
Austin Byrd/Will swim at Wisconsin: "I picked Wisconsin over a couple of other schools, I really like their coaches and swimmers and the philosophy they have there, it was great."
Andrew Faris/Will run at University of Alabama: "It's stepping up to a whole new level of competition being in the SEC is one of the best conferences for track and field, so good competition."
Rounding out signing day is Bloomer's Ali Olson, who will run cross country and track at Division 1 Northern Illinois University, Ali finished 8th at last year's Division 2 state cross country meet.
Ali Olson/Will run at Northern Illinois: "I know that I looked at a lot of different colleges, but after touring NIU and visiting the girls there and the coaches, it was basically a set decision that I would go there. They have great facilities and keep building on to it, and they have a great communications program and that's what I'm looking to going into so."