By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Dozens of Broken Arrow High School senior athletes who had signed to play their respective sports in college were honored at a ceremony last month, including five who are going to the Division-I level.
Savannah Evans and Mollie Briener will be going an hour west to play softball and soccer, respectively, at Oklahoma State. Twin sisters Peyton and Presli Pearson are Kansas State-bound for soccer, and football kicker Tyler Crawford will be going further north to play at Nebraska.
Evans came to Broken Arrow her senior year from Lincoln Christian. She actually grew up an OU fan and attended many Women’s College World Series games in Oklahoma City.
But once she set foot on the Stillwater campus, she said she fell in love with it and knew it was her destination.
“It’s a very exciting thing for me,” Evans said. “I’ve played my whole life and I’ve always wanted to play at the top level and I knew if I worked hard, I’d get to a point where I could prove myself and play at a top program, so I’m very honored and blessed to play for them.”
Evans is a right-handed pitcher who had a 19-1 record on the mound and helped the Lady Tigers to the Class 6A state semifinals. She also plays some in the outfield.
A Dream Comes True
Briener is a defender who was part of the Lady Tigers state championship team her sophomore season in 2018.
“Ever since I was little, my sister and I have always competed and she always was an OU fan, so I was an OSU fan,” Briener said. “It was just my dream to go to OSU.”
Briener said she can’t wait to play and learn with the Cowgirls.
“I’ve talked to a couple of the coaches and I’ve been there to watch their games. I’ve hung out with some of the girls already playing there,” Briener said.
Having been contacted by OSU since her junior year, she is hoping to help OSU win more Big 12 championships.
The Pearson sisters could have gone their separate ways as each was recruited by different schools. But Kansas State wanted them both.
“We weren’t being recruited together,” said Presli Pearson, a center midfielder. “We were both being recruited separately and then it happened one day that Kansas State (coach Mike Dibbini) saw us on the field and wanted both of us. We both took a visit and that was it.”
“When I visited Kansas State, it was like, really a home feeling, like I felt the whole environment there,” said Peyton Pearson, the BA goalkeeper. “Everybody was supporting each other and was so passionate about the sport, so it was just like a family up there.
Both girls committed the same day.
“We woke up, called our coach and said ‘we’re coming to you,’” Peyton Pearson said.
“We’ve always been on the same team since we were four years old and never been on a separate team,” Presli Pearson said. “So we’ve always just traveled and done everything together for the past 14 years.”
Kicking up North
Crawford decided to go to Nebraska three days before national signing day.
“Dude, it’s just a dream honestly,” he said. “I’ve been excited for a long time. This is just a big dream come true for me and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.”
Besides being a part of the 2018 state championship team, Crawford said his favorite Broken Arrow moment was kicking a 31-yard field goal against Owasso in the state semifinals that year. It came early in the game yet proved to be the game-winner as the Tigers beat the Rams 10-7 in that game.
Crawford fell in love with the game when he first took up football, he said.
“It’s exciting,” Crawford added. “It gets my heart racing and gets me to forget about things. It helps me clear my mind.”
You can bet this soon-to-be Tiger graduate is looking forward to going to Nebraska.
“Coach (Scott) Frost has got that place turning around and I want to be a part of it,” Crawford said. “He’s just straight up and wants to win and I want to help him win.”