Four area athletes to continue education, athletics at the next level
GOSHEN COUNTY – Four area athletes signed their names to their National Letter of Intents on Wednesday morning to continue their education and athletic careers at the next level.
Gage Gibson of Lingle-Fort Laramie, along with Torrington’s Juan Carlos Stevens, Jade Brothwell and Ryan Baker made their futures know in front of family, friends and classmates.
Gibson signed with the Northeastern Junior College golf team for next fall.
The two-time Class 3A All-State golfer has always had a natural swing, but it wasn’t until his junior year before he realized his potential.
“I took that summer and actually put the work in and after that season, I ended up all-state,” Gibson said.
That’s when the realization set in.
Went another summer of working hard and placed fifth at state last fall.
That led teams from Kansas to Kentucky recruiting Gibson, but ultimately, he settled on the Sterling, Colorado school.
“NJC was trying to contact me but didn’t know how to,” Gibson said.
Finally, the connection was made through an email and the rest was history.
“They wanted me to come down to visit the campus,” Gibson said. “I got meet the coach and tour the facilitates. For me, it felt like the perfect new home. It was close enough that if I needed to come back, I could, but it was far enough to get away and experience life on my own.”
Gibson plans to major in education.
“I like the elementary side of things and being able to hang out with kids who act like me,” Gibson said laughing.
Juan Carlson Stevens
Stevens will continue his education and soccer career at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis.
He has attended Torrington High school for three years after moving from Oklahoma, and the decision to play soccer in college fulfills a dream.
“It’s always been my dream to play soccer at the next level,” he said.
Stevens, who helped the Blazers reach the Class 3A state championship game a year ago, has played soccer since he was four years old.
“The competition out there is good,” Stevens said of MBU. “It’s a great feeling to go out there and play.”
MBU is an NAIA four-year institution, and the Spartans are coming off a 12-6 season in 2022.
“It’s a good school. It’s a Baptist school, and they have church,” Stevens said. “You don’t have to go, but they give you that opportunity.”
Stevens was also an accomplished football player for the Blazers but said his first love has always been soccer.
“It’s my favorite sport. I’ve been playing it longer,” he said. “Football was just playing for the enjoyment.”
Stevens plans to major in business.
Brothwell will continue her education and soccer career at Western Nebraska Community College.
Picking the Lady Cougar soccer program was pretty simple.
“It first started out because my brother (Cole) went there,” Brothwell said.
The connection with WNCC coach Todd Rasnic helped with the recruiting process.
“Our family knows Todd, the coach there,” Brothwell said. “It was an automatic place to go. And it’s really close, and my mom doesn’t want me going super far.”
WNCC is coming off a 7-7 season in 2022 which saw its season come to an end in the quarterfinal round of the Region IX playoffs.
During her time at Torrington, Brothwell lost her freshman season due to COVID, but in her sophomore year, helped the Lady Blazers reach the state tournament for the first time in several season.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Brothwell said. “We haven’t had the best couple years of winning, but I’ve always had a good time with my team and loved playing with them all four years.”
Brothwell also has experience playing basketball and volleyball, but soccer has always been her main sport.
I’ve always liked all the sports like basketball and volleyball, but soccer, I’ve always loved a lot more.
Brothwell plans to pursue a career as a radiologist technician.
Baker will continue his education and athletic career at Black Hills State in South Dakota next year on the Yellowjacket’s track and field team.
“Over the last spring and summer, I decided I was pretty sure I wanted to go do track in college,” Baker said.
Baker looked at other places like Chadron State and Dickinson State, but he fell in love with Black Hills on his visit last January.
“I took my visit up to Black Hills in January, and I just loved it,” Baker said. “I loved all their coaches, and it seemed like the place I needed to be.”
Baker was also successful on the basketball court and on the football field. Helping the Blazers to a state championship football game in 2020 and helping the basketball team reach the state tournament this past season for the first time since the team qualified for it in the 2019-20 season.
“I thought I wanted to do basketball for a while,” Baker said. “I felt like I could have a much bigger role on a track team and have a lot more success that way.”
Physical education with plans to get into coaching.
“Ever since I got into high school, Torrington has been a great place to be. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in sports. We’ve been in the state championship game in football and a season where we’ve won one game. I’ve had a great group of guys to go to school with and have as teammates. It’s been awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”