Putting pen to paper: Four Blossoms extend playing careers to college
Any time an athlete has an opportunity to take their athletic careers to the next level, there’s a cause for celebration.
And that’s exactly what Blooming Prairie High School did.
Blossoms athletes Taylor Christianson, Marissa Larson, Elly Strunk and Seth Bedenbaugh gathered at Blooming Prairie High School’s library to take part in a signing day ceremony Thursday morning.
While Christianson was the lone athlete who actually had to sign a letter of intent, Activities Director Alison Mach said that the recent change to the Division III signing makes it a more memorable experience for the athletes. After a brief introduction, all four Blossoms athletes – accompanied by their parents – started the signing process as their classmates looked on.
Christianson – who a National Letter of Intent to NAIA Grand View – noted that her decision to continue her career with the Vikings was because of the resume with former standouts.
“The coach helped Lisa Meshke get through her career and she is a great player,” commented the Blossoms’ standout. “I want to be just as good as her.”
Christianson also noted that as of right now, they currently have her slotted at the No.2 slot on the team. She plans to study nursing. Her parents Denny and Terri Zwiener and Mike Christianson were in attendance.
Marissa Larson, who was supported by parents Jeff and Tammy Larson, chose Bethel University to continue her basketball career.
“It kind of hits you like ‘wow it’s actually happening, I’m actually playing in college,” added Larson. “It’s crazy to think that there are so many opportunities opening up.”
The Bethel commit noted that her decision to play collegiately actually started become firm after mentor Mark DeLap encouraged her to take a look at the possibilities that could come from playing college athletics. Larson plans to study Pre-Med.
DeLap, who is also the Managing Editor for the Steele County Times, was in attendance, but for a more personal reason. His son Seth, was finalizing his commitment to play college basketball at North Central University. his wife Robin was also in attendace.
Unlike his classmates, Bedenbaugh has a much more winding road. Moving to Minnesota in August after spending much of his high school career in Michigan, he would have just months to create chemistry with a team that had the vast majority of players together since they were at a young age.
Despite the unsuspecting adventure that made him finish his high school career in Minnesota, he smiled and noted that it must have been planned by a higher power.
“God’s been great,” commented the Rams commit. “It’s been a journey for sure. It’s been crazy how inviting people have been here and how easy the process of getting all settled here and making it feel like home.”
Bedenbaugh noted that he’s glad to be staying in Minnesota for college, stating “I think it will be good for me to come here every once in a while and see the people here.”
He plans to study studio music production.
Elly Strunk, who was accompanied by her parents Kyle and Suzzi Strunk, will be showing off her talents in two sports over the four years at Gustavus Adolphus College. Strunk is planning on playing both women’s hockey and softball for the Golden Gusties. Since Blooming Prairie doesn’t sport a girls hockey team, Strunk has been playing her hockey for Kasson-Mantorville for her high school career.
The dual-sport athlete noted that finally putting pen to paper closes one chapter and opens another for her.
“I went through a lot of tryouts over my high school career that left me with uneasy feelings. So, knowing I found a place is completely stress relieving,” she added.
Strunk noted that she was sold on the Golden Gusties because it felt right, and that it should feel that way. She also added that the women’s hockey program is currently in the frozen four and that softball often plays in Hawaii.
“I heard there softball program goes to Hawaii and their hockey program goes to Europe every four years,” she added.
Strunk plans to study journalism, possibly as a news anchor.