Four graduates look forward to collegiate athletics

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Some athletes dream of playing the sport they love in college. At least four WHS Class of 2019 graduates will achieve that dream this fall. Kolby Estes (wrestling), Joey Mace (baseball), Maleek Porter (track), and Matt Luebbert (basketball) have all accepted scholarships to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.

State wrestling champion Kolby Estes will wrestle for Campbell University in North Carolina. He chose this school not only for the wrestling scholarship he was given, but also for the degree program that he wants to pursue.

“They are one in six schools in the nation that have a degree for homeland security,” Estes said.

While he is sad to leave family and friends, Estes feels ready for the challenge that college athletics will demand.

“I don’t really fear the school itself because I know I am ready and mature,” he said. “It will be competitive, so that is kind of scary.”

Estes will leave the day after graduation to go to North Carolina to start training and take two classes. He recognizes the time commitment the sport will take.

“It will definitely be time consuming, like learning to manage time with school,” he said.

Estes said he knew he had to be a good student, as well as a good athlete, to make it to the college level and he advises those who want to play a college sport to take academics seriously.

“Academics are a big thing, you are a student before you are an athlete. Just really focus on your academics because that’s going to help you alot in college. That’s the main thing, colleges want good students, and a good athlete,” he said.

Estes has worked very hard to accomplish his goals to wrestle in college.

“Academically, it is just lots of studying. I slack sometimes, but I mean everyone slacks. For wrestling, basically it is just pushing through things that may have gone wrong and just mainly setting goals and not quitting until getting to them.”

Joey Mace, who will play baseball for Park University, said a lot of practice and commitment is what it took to get to the college level. Mace, a pitcher, advises that there is only one way to succeed at a sport.

“Lots of practice, a lot of commitment,” he said. “If you put in the work, you can do it.”

Mace looks forward to the challenge of college sports.

“I expect to work hard and get stronger when I enter college,” he said.

Maleek Porter accepted a scholarship for decathlon at Central Methodist University in Fayette. Porter also earned an academic scholarship from the school.
Porter was on both the WHS track and cross country teams all four years.

“It’s what I do,” Porter said of track and field.

His favorite event in track and field is javelin. He holds the school record in that event.

Porter said he looks forward to competing at the college level.

“I look forward to throwing a stick really far,” he said. “It is more technique than you think.”

Porter said time management will be his biggest challenge in college

“With a decathlon, you have to train in all 10 of the events – practice in all those areas – running, throwing, jumping, and hurdling.”

Porter will be one of two decathletes at Central Methodist.

Matt Luebbert has accepted a scholarship to play basketball for College of the Ozarks. As he transitions from a Wildcat to a Bobcat, he also recognizes the challenges of playing at the college level.

“The level of competition is so much higher in college. For college, you have to be recruited,” he said.

Luebbert will be working on a major in business management at C of O while balancing lifting, practices and a campus job

WHS Athletic Director Ryan Boyer, a former collegiate athlete, said these athletes will face some challenges in college.

“It is a much greater time commitment, the competition level is much greater, and it is much more of a job-type setting,” Boyer said.

However, Boyer also said the commitment comes with many benefits.

“To name a few . . . it’s a great time, you make a lot of connections that will benefit your future, and it helps to provide you structure as you transition from highschool to college,” Boyer said.

Boyer said theses athletes will be challenged with balancing studies, work outs, practices, meetings, film, and a social life. They will also have to step up to a new level of competition.

“In high school, they may have been the only All-State athlete on their team.  In college, everyone on the team was probably an All-State player. How you prepare everyday (in-season & out-of-season) is what separates the competition,” Boyer said.

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