By William for

MCPHERSON – Wednesday was a day that should make McPherson High Lady Bullpup athletics proud as five soon to be graduating student/athletes signed letters of intent to continue their athletic and academic careers at two state universities and one in Iowa.

Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas be getting the services of both Lady Bullpup tennis star Taylor Bruce as well as basketball standout Emma Ruddle, while Laykn Schieferecke and Andrea Sweat will continue their teamwork on the basketball court at Washburn University, with Lady Bullpup volleyball leader Cassie Cooks is heading to Graceland University in Iowa.

A brief write on the five:



For McPherson High girls’ basketball coach Chris Strathman, Andrea Sweat has a very high ceiling for the Washburn University Lady Ichabods due to the fact that Sweat has only served as a top reserve for her first three years as a Lady Bullpup, partially due to injuries.

Former Lady Bullpup and Lady Ichabod standout Brette (Ulsaker) Herber, who is now an assistant coach at Washburn, has played a significant role in recruiting Sweat to Topeka.

Standing six-foot-two but having the skills of a guard makes Sweat an intriguing player for the future at Washburn.

Sweat plans to major in education.



Signing a tennis scholarship at a place like Fort Hays State University gives Taylor Bruce a perfect topper for what has been a perfect season as she just recently completed her senior campaign playing tennis for McPherson High by going unbeaten at 35-0 and winning a Class 5A state championship in doubles with CeAnna Allen.

Not only did Bruce finish in the top 10 at the state meet in all four years of high school, she was also named twice as Academic All-State as well.

Bruce will have a familiar face greeting her at Hays as another former Lady Bullpup, Ellea Ediger, is a junior and starter for the Lady Tiger girl’s tennis program.

Besides trying to keep up her near perfect tennis career, Bruce will also be spending her academic time with the nursing program at Hays.



Competitiveness is what Cassie Cooks will take with her next season when she journeys to the grand state of Iowa to play volleyball for Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa.

Most recently Cooks was honored as the ‘best leader’ by the coaching staff of Washburn University while there for a team camp.

In her time as a Lady Bullpup volleyball leader, Cooks played on teams that went 93-29 and earned three league titles while being named either first or second team All AVCTL Division III the past two seasons and twice earning all-tournament recognition at the always tough Newton Invitational.

One of the exploits that McPherson fans may remember the most came when Cooks was a sophomore and had to replace her injured all-state sister Mandi in the starting lineup of the Lady Bullpup basketball team that won a state championship. Cooks was also a three-time state qualifier for the small, but powerful Lady Bullpup swim team.

Cooks will have another once in a lifetime personal experience ahead before heading to Graceland when she spends the summer of 2020 in Spain competing for a select volleyball team.

Cooks plans to major in the highly prestigious Graceland University pre-chiropractic field.



Despite being a three-time state champion in track, Emma Ruddle has chosen to pursue her next level of academic athletics at Fort Hays State University by joining the Lady Tiger basketball program.

Ruddle acknowledges that despite her stardom on the track, she won state twice in the 100 hurdles and once in the 100 meters, her first love has always been basketball and with her signing on Wednesday she will join one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country.

Known not only for her scoring ability, Ruddle is a prolific lockdown defender on the court as well, something she proved time and again last season as a starter for the Lady Bullpups team that finished fourth at the state Class 5A tournament and previously as a reserve on the state 4A championship team of two years past.

Athleticism runs in her family as Emma’s father, Mike Ruddle, was an all-state phenom on the football field when he graduated from Canton/Galva high school before going on to play at Oklahoma State and then McPherson College.

When it comes to the academics at Fort Hays University, Ruddle is planning on majoring within their nursing program.



Despite entering her senior year of high school with some question s to her opportunity to play due to a summer knee injury, Laykn Schieferecke will still have the outstanding opportunity to pursue her athletic/academic career further at Washburn University with whom she signed on Wednesday to play basketball for.

Schieferecke has been the starting point guard for each of the past two seasons which means she played a big part of leading the Lady Bullpups to a Class 4A state championship during her sophomore season and a fourth-place finish in last seasons Class 5A state tournament.

Earning All-AVCTL Division III honors as well as All-State recognition the past two seasons also highlight her decorated high school career.

Like Andrea Sweat, Lady Bullpup teammate and fellow Lady Ichabod signee, Schieferecke noted that much of her decision came from her relationship built with Washburn assistant coach and former Lady Bullpup all-state/Lady Ichabod starter, Brette (Ulsaker) Herber.

Schieferecke will major in the Washburn nursing program.

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(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)