Independence's budding athletic program showed off four girls athletes Wednesday, all of them bound for college athletics.
They all had different stories:
Two weeks ago, senior track and field star Kyra Saunders figured she'd stay local for college, or perhaps try the junior-college route.
That's when Saunders piqued some last-minute interest from Cal State Fullerton. Two days ago, she went to Fullerton to visit and verbally committed to the Titans on the spot.
Now, the sprinter is bound for Division I.
"It's exciting and kind of scary," she said. "I was kind of scared I wouldn't get in anywhere, but the North High coach (Jermaine Spence) knows the Fullerton coaches well and contacted them and sent them some video."
The volleyball coaches at the University of Albany had to come much farther to see Independence volleyball setter Emily Lopes, but the Great Danes apparently didn't care, making the trip multiple times and inking Lopes to a national letter of intent.
"I loved the town -- that East-coast old feel, all the cool buildings," Lopes said. "It's a great feeling to know my hard work has paid off."
Lopes is the first Division I volleyball signee from Independence's successful volleyball program.
"I hope I just energize other people to work hard and get to this day," she said.
Isabelle Martinez also worked hard, especially once she realized playing Division I softball was a possibility.
The Falcons third baseman signed with San Jose State.
"I'm really surprised," she said. "I didn't think I was capable of playing in college, but I put myself out there and it changed my perspective."
Specifically, Martinez said she went to a San Jose State camp last summer on a bit of a whim and emerged with serious interest from the Spartans, who eventually got her signature over Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State Bakersfield.
"I really like the program," she said. "I got along with everyone, and the coaches are really good. They really approach softball in a good way that makes you play hard."
The fourth Independence signee was Bianca Moreno, who will play soccer for Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.
Moreno will play defender for the NAIA program, which had coaches come out to the West Coast to watch her play club soccer several times.
"It's always been a dream," Moreno said. "I always wanted to play college soccer, and now it's here."