Record-setting performance: Staiger, France take Division I step
Prestonwood Christian Academy set a record attendance Wednesday afternoon.
It wasn't for a football or basketball game though, rather the signing ceremony of volleyball player Katie Staiger (Baylor) and lacrosse player Brett France (Providence).
"I think this is the most people we've ever had here for a signing," said Dr. Larry Taylor, Prestonwood head of school. "And obviously that's because of Katie and Brett, two kids I couldn't be prouder of."
The moment was unique for France, who doesn't play lacrosse at Prestonwood because the school doesn't have a team. Instead, France has played for Plano West, where he's been a defensive starter since he was a freshman and led the team in takeaways each season. France was at West earlier in the day to see teammate Ryan Schaffer sign with Providence and Schaffer returned the favor Wednesday afternoon.
"Since I've been playing with West I never got a chance to represent my school," France said. "But I've been at Prestonwood since sixth grade and I'm glad I got the opportunity to sign here."
France's signing could spark a Lions lacrosse team.
"I know Brett had to pursue other means of playing," Taylor said, "but we are so proud of you and your commitment, and I think what you've done could pave the way for a future lacrosse powerhouse."
France didn't just need to play for another school, he had to play in several other states to secure a scholarship.
"Yeah, college coaches don't come out to Texas too much," France said. "So I've been to Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, a bunch of different states, to try and get noticed."
France considered Dartmouth and Salisbury before choosing Providence.
"They were really persistent," he said. "They have a new coach and the future looks really bright there, so it seems like a good fit."
While it was evident those in attendance Wednesday didn't have a great deal of lacrosse knowledge, the same could not be said about volleyball as Staiger got kudos from several coaches.
"Katie was a leader even as a freshman and she has really carried our team the past four years," said Becky O'Neal, Prestonwood volleyball head coach. "That's one of the reasons you hate to lose her, but I know Katie will do great things in the world, and not just in terms of volleyball."
"There were many times that I saw Katie play and wished she was a boy so I could line her up on the field," said Chris Cunningham, Prestonwood head football coach and athletic director.
Wednesday was a long time coming for the outside hitter.
"I've been committed to Baylor since I was a sophomore," said Staiger, while visiting with Plano West senior Brooke Coleman (Ohio), "so to actually get to this day is pretty exciting."
Staiger was highly recruited early, but never really expanded her list of schools.
"It was pretty much Baylor right away," she said.
Staiger, who plans to study sports management, mentioned Baylor's size and religious aspects as big reasons for her choice; reasons that replicate why she went to Prestonwood.
"This day is a little bittersweet because I've been a part of this school for so long," Staiger said. "But it's also an amazing day because you get to look to that next part of your life while seeing everyone that helped you get to this point."