Five of Geneseo’s top athletes announced their college plans during the fall signing day ceremony at the J.D. Darnall Library.

Five of Geneseo’s top athletes announced their college plans during the fall signing day ceremony at the J.D. Darnall Library.

Jasmine McCormick, Maddie Mackey, Keaton Rice, Marshall Rice and Jacob Pauley donned their college colors surrounded by friends, family, and coaches on Nov. 9.

Keaton will attend Bradley University to play baseball in the spring of 2018.

The son of Jason and Rhonda Rice, the prospect of playing at Dozer Park, in Peoria made Keaton excited.

Dozer Park is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Class A affiliate Peoria Chiefs, and Keaton can’t wait to take his first steps onto a big league field as a ball player.

“I’ll end up stepping back and taking it all,” Keaton Rice said. “It will be really fun, but at the end of the day I still have to get my work done.”

It was a happy accident that Mackey and McCormick ended up both committing to Heartland Community College.

As McCormick was telling friends about her college choice to attend Heartland in Burlington, they were telling her that’s where Mackey had committed as well.

Both players said it means a lot to have a teammate they already know going into their freshmen season.

The daughter of Paula Nimrick and Charles McCormick, Jasmine felt the school was the right fit after a visit to the campus and meeting with the coaches.

Jasmine looks forward to having a chance to play right away and relishes the chance to be seen by some of the larger schools Heartland Community College plays.

“Softball has been in my life for as long as I can remember,” Jasmine said. “I definitely want to go on and, considering we play so many good teams, it will give us a chance to grow as individuals.”

Mackey was encouraged by the buzz she heard about Heartland from the players on the team.

The daughter of Travis and Kris Mackey, Maddie is undecided but thinks she will pursue something that continues her passion for sports.

She said Heartland will give her a chance to get acclimated to college life while providing her a chance to transfer to a four-year school and continue playing softball.

“We play a lot of DI teams in the fall,” Maddie said. “It will help me slowly get into the college life and understand what playing against those good teams will be like.”

Pauley and Marshall Rice both plan to attend the Southeastern Community College, in Normal.

It was a happy accident that Marshall and Pauley ended up at the same college, but the duo plan to use the opportunity to push each other.

A pitcher, Jacob plans on taking full advantage of playing early in his college career.

“Getting experience, a lot of playing time and a lot of innings is big,” Pauley said. “A lot of people who go to four-year schools may not play the first few years.”

The son of Laurie and Guy Pauley, Jacob plans on majoring in business marketing.

Jacob thinks Heartland will benefit him from a baseball standpoint and has a good program for his major as well.

Marshall was drawn to Heartland because he liked the structure of the program.

The son of Klint and Melanie Rice, Marshall wants to focus on turf management and take advantage of early playing time.

“That was the one thing I wanted to do is go into college and just start playing right away,” Marshall said. “I didn’t want to wait around I just wanted to go play.”

The most exciting part for Marshall was developing as a pitcher and making his teammates his brothers.