Soon-to-be college athletes from Frederick HS sign on the dotted line

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FREDERICK – The April 12 letter-of-intent signing ceremony at Frederick High School was part continuation of athletic interests and a fast lesson in geography.


Kyle Lahr, who played basketball for the Warriors, signed on with Wartburg College in Iowa. Softball player Anjelee Huerta opted to join Lamar Community College. Volleyball player Francie Shaffer gets the prize for the most travel involved for her new school. She’s attending Plymouth (N.H.) State University.

“When you make a commitment to play college sports, think of it as two full-time jobs,” Frederick athletic director Ernie Derrera said. “They are studying to pursue their education. But on top of that, they are spending four to seven hours a day doing sports. In the case of volleyball and softball, you’re talking two seasons. To move forward and play at the next level takes a tremendous amount of dedication and athletic talent.”


Francie Shaffer

Shaffer’s choice to head to New Hampshire was easier than most. One part was a better-than-average chance to step into the starting lineup right away. 

“They sent me an email, and I saw the campus. It was super pretty,” she said. “That’s what drew me into the school. And then I saw they had a psychology program with a focus on mental health, which is what I want to go into. It’s going to be good for me athletically and academically.”

Originally, she wanted to be a marine biologist.

“I really wanted to be a doctor and have been interested in psychology,” Shaffer said. “I’m taking an AP psych class. They are focusing on mental health. I wanted to be a doctor and focus on helping people. Doing mental disorder stuff is what I want to do.”

In the 2014-2015 school year, five Frederick students died. Four committed suicide, and the fifth died in a car crash. 

“I had some close relations with some of the people who were affected and the people themselves,” Shaffer said. “I think overall, all through my life, I’ve always wanted to be one to help someone.”

Shaffer was looking at attending Hartwick College in New York and the University of Puget Sound in Seattle.

“They were good for me academically, too,” Shaffer said. “But the main thing that pushed me away from them was the cost. They are about three times as much.”

Shaffer wanted to go to school out of state.

“I’m really excited. I didn’t care where it was. I wanted to have a new life and experience something different somewhere,” she said. “It’s scary. It’s across the country.”


Kyle Lahr

Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, earned Lahr’s basketball services for many of the same reasons as other prospective college students.

“I really liked the campus. I loved the coaching staff. The city is pretty nice as well. It felt right,” he said. “It’s small. I fit in better at smaller places.”

Lahr also visited Doane (Neb.) College, Hastings College and Concordia College in Moorehead, Minn.

“The campus swung it,” Lahr said. “Basketball was a huge factor. The student body was awesome. We got to go to a game there, and it felt awesome.”

He’s not sure about a specific field of study. Lahr is leaning toward physical education or sports management. His goal is to become a coach or a physical education teacher. 

The idea of promoting himself to people who’ve never seen him before didn’t phase Lahr.

“I go out and play and try to make good friends with everybody,” Lahr said. “I’m excited and a little bit nervous. The experience I’m going to have for these next four years is exciting. Everything is going to be progression. I’m a little nervous, but I’m not scared. I’m definitely ready.”


Anjelee Huerta

Huerta gets the prize for staying closest to home among last week’s letter-signers. She opted for Lamar Community College.

“I liked the campus. It was small, they have a good softball program and I liked the coach,” she said. “I like the small classroom and knowing where everything is. I wanted something the same size as Frederick. Lamar feels like home. The distance is a little far. But I’d rather be three hours away than be a plane ride home.”

Huerta also eyed Otero and Trinidad State junior colleges, too.

“I was more into Lamar,” she said. “We did a visit. I walked through. Mom asked me how I liked it, and I said, ‘This is the one.’”

Huerta wants to study criminal justice. She’s not sure what she wants to do with her degree, though.

“There is a college class at Frederick, and I liked what we’re doing in there,” she said. “It’s more about attorney stuff. It’s fun and interesting. I just want to see where it takes me.”

Huerta admitted to a case of anticipation and nerves about what’s upcoming.

“I’m nervous because it’s something new. It’s college,” Huerta said. “I’m excited because I’m continuing my softball career. I think I’m ready.”


Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at ssmith@metrowestnewspapers.com.