NHS

It's another year of firsts for Nolensville High School.

After 2019 saw its first senior athletes declare to play at the next level, 2020 sees its first four-year students reach the end of their athletic journeys and signal a desire to play collegiality. 

Nolensville celebrated 12 of its student-athletes Wednesday at an assembly who will be partaking in college athletics. 

The list is as follows: C.J. Ware (football, Miami OH), Dan Rickert (football, Tennessee Tech), Luke Jenkins (football, Tennessee Tech), Grace Baird (girls basketball, Trevecca), Parker Leftwich (basketball, Bryan), Dawson Condor (baseball, Union), Aidan Young (baseball, Freed Hardeman), Jared Steltmann (baseball, Freed Hardeman), Hailey Hughes (softball, Christian Brothers), Kylee Owensby (softball, Belmont), Ethan Hoogerheide (boys soccer, Asbury) and McKinley Wagner (wrestling, King). 

Ware joins his teammate and early signing period commit Tim Coutras (Liberty) as one of the highest-profile Knights to play college sports. 

"This day is probably the most excited...I've ever been," Ware said on his signing. "To have all my family here...it's just a very exciting moment just to have the time to make it official." 

He joins the D-1 Mid-American Conference, which features Northern Illinois, Ball State, Toledo, Arkon and Kent State. 

"They really showed they wanted me, and that's all you can really ask for," Ware said of making the decision to sign with Miami OH. "I thought I'd be the best fit for them." 

Baird is a 1,000-point scorer with the Lady Knights and will join WillCo alums Izzy Franco (Brentwood) and Faith Wilken (Page) with the Trojans. 

"I've been really struggling with who exactly I wanted to commit to," she said. "But I've been talking to the coaches, and I know people on that team. I just felt like it's the perfect environment for me. So it means a lot [to sign there]." 

Condor reflects on a moment like this as many do who play high school athletics who earn a spot at the next level. 

"You work so hard in these last four years, and then just to have one time, just have like five minutes where everybody recognizes all the hard work you've done," he said. "It's super cool, too, to see your friends [recognized]...I'm super close with all these guys." 

Owensby said she liked Belmont for more than its athletics. 

"It's a good school academically," she said. "I can focus on school and playing softball." 

Jenkins wouldn't have told you he'd be playing college football when he was a freshman. 

"It was a dream at first," he said. 

He transitioned into football later and became a stalwart contributor to the Knights. 

"I put a lot of work, time and effort into this, traveling all around to camps," he said. "It just brings it all together." 

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