Rev. Jerome Milton has seen numerous signing ceremonies in his decades as Bishop Gorman’s athletic scholarship coordinator.
On Tuesday, he had a first.
“This is a great, grand historic occasion in the history of the Bishop Gorman Catholic High School family to sign our first tennis player,” Milton said. “I’ve signed over 150 young people here at Gorman in various sports, but never signed a tennis player. We’re very excited about Bianca Suarez signing to Millsaps College to continue her tennis.”
Suarez was one of five Gorman students who committed their futures to play collegiate athletics at the school’s Holy Family Library.
Also signing were Matthew Hillin (Lewis & Clark, football), Mary Kate Robertson (Centenary College, soccer), Jeremy Obach (Millsaps College, track) and Taylor Kemp (University of Dallas, baseball).
Suarez said she had planned on going to Texas A&M before the possibility of playing tennis for Millsaps came up.
“It feels awesome,” she said. “It’s an honor to be able to be the first person ever — not even a girl but boy and girl — to sign ever for tennis. I’m glad I can call myself the first signee from Gorman to sign for tennis.”
Suarez and Obach both heard of the school through former Lady Crusader Sara Navarro, who recently won a bronze medal in discus at the conference championship for the Majors, based in Jackson, Miss.
Obach, the class of 2012 president and captain of the boys track team, will run middle distance events for the Majors.
“It’s like a family there and I already feel like I have a place,” he said. “I know I can succeed academically. The running is just icing on the cake.”
Robertson, a defender, will join teammate and friend Hannah Bate, who signed with Centenary in February.
“Really the only thing she ever said was make the right choice,” Robertson said of Bate’s influence. “She always hinted that she wanted me to go. She basically left it up to me. I’m very excited I’m going to college to play with my best friend.”
Hillin gave the Crusaders football team a huge boost when running back Caleb Williams was hurt early in the season. While Williams stayed close to home — he signed with Tyler Junior College in February — Hillin will travel 2,000 miles to play running back in Portland, Ore.
“I felt like that was the best option for me,” Hillin said. “They’re giving me a good opportunity to play early on. It may be a little far away from home but it allows me to experience something new.”
Kemp thought this day would never come for him when he had to undergo surgery on his left throwing shoulder last year. Kemp said it was the worst day of his life when he considered his chances of completing his childhood dream of playing baseball in college.
Instead, through hard work and perseverance, Kemp signed with the University of Dallas, also called the Crusaders, where he’ll play outfield and pitch.
“I’ve grown to really love the game of baseball playing here at Gorman and I hope that will continue on once I go to college,” Kemp said. “UD’s a really good school and their baseball team’s done very well lately and I just can’t wait to be a part of it.”