Charette’s signature gathers celebration at PrescottPRESCOTT – When a high school athlete signs a National Letter of Intent it’s either a small affair with just a few people. Or it can be a party.
By: Sean Scallon, Pierce County Herald
PRESCOTT – When a high school athlete signs a National Letter of Intent it’s either a small affair with just a few people.
Or it can be a party.
Surprise Kaycee Charette!
The Prescott senior was surrounded by teammates, coaches, the press, family members, fellow students and the school’s administration in signing her NLOI to attend Minnesota State-Moorhead to play basketball last Wednesday afternoon in the school’s cafeteria.
There was also a treat table in back for afterwards. All of it Charette was reveling in as she signed her name on the NLOI form sheet several times after some short speeches from Prescott officials.
“This is just amazing!” Charette said. “I knew my friends would be here and my family but I didn’t expect all this. It’s great.”
Purpose in Partying
There was a purpose behind the party for Kaycee besides celebrating four years worth of athletic achievement in three different sports.
“Hopefully this will inspire kids to work hard and dedicate themselves so that they can have a ceremony like this,” Prescott new head girls basketball coach Matt Smith said. “Kaycee has a lot of talent to be sure. But she’s also a very hard worker and she puts forth maximum effort every minute of every game. This signing ceremony shows that hard work does pay off and one day they can be up there putting their name on the dotted line.”
Such a signing ceremony is also a rare treat for Prescott athletes. Only three other athletes in school history have signed Division I tenders, Willy Holst to University of Minnesota in wrestling, Nick Schommer, North Dakota State in football and an athlete from the mid-1980s, Naaschon Peterson to the University of Wisconsin (Mike Allen, the place kicker for UW’s football team earlier this decade, was a walk-on before earning a scholarship). Most of the school’s best athletes that have gone on to compete collegiately have been at the Division III level, most recently persons like Erik Diley, Abby Johnson, Bre Syverson, Chris Terrazas, Justin Tobias, Alex Ross, Matt Feriancek, Gary Seifert, Chad Tousley, Sarah and Maria Peloquin, Chris Johnson, Brock Steger and Kevin McDonough.
“For a school our size to have someone worthy of receiving an athletic scholarship to Division I or II university is a big deal,” Athletic Director Dave Vortherms said.
Kaycee’s record speaks for itself as to why the Dragons and many other area colleges and universities wanted her to attend them. In the sport she’s chosen, basketball, she is a three-year letter winner, three-year all-conference player, twice an All-Northwest team member and the Pioneer Press Athlete of the Week. Going into this season Charette has been recognized as one of the top 50 basketball players in the state. And going into this season she holds school marks in points and free throw percentage for one season and should, barring injury, capture the mark for rebounds and steals as well.
Charette’s prowess in both basketball and volleyball meant that she had to make a decision as to which one she was going to pick to play collegiately. Many schools wanted her for either or.
The decision to go with basketball was in large part due to where Kaycee would best fit into the plans of a collegiate team.
“She had tryouts with UM-Duluth and North Dakota State for volleyball and the coaches there envisioned her as defensive specialist more so than a hitter,” Kaycee’s mother and her coach in volleyball Beth said. “Plus, Kaycee loves basketball and she played AAU ball the past couple of summers.”
Kaycee said that playing over the summer helped her envision what her role would be as a collegiate player.
“When I played summer ball I played mostly defense and passed the ball from the wings to the post or back on top,” Kaycee said. “The coaches that watched me play saw what I was able to do and made their pitches to me.”
Kaycee had offers from all over. Brown University of the Ivy league was the most prominent to go with all the local Division III schools along with North Dakota, Luther College and University of Mary, which is also in North Dakota. The University of Wisconsin and Bradley University showed some interest and perhaps had Kaycee waited until the spring signing period, should could have gotten some Division I scholarship offers. But Kaycee said she didn’t want to wait. Division II MSU-Moorhead was the school for her.
“I love the fact that the school is small, only 8,000 students, but the Fargo-Moorhead area has 60,000 students at many different schools,” Kaycee said. “I fell in love with the place right away when I first visited and the coaching staff has been very honest and straight forward with me.”
MSU-Moorhead Head Coach Karla Nelson said that Charette will make an immediate impact with the Dragons.
“She’s the kind of player that will allow us to be more versatile,” Nelson said. “Kaycee has the length and the athleticism that will allow us to press all over the floor and allow us to play more up-tempo. She can create havoc on defense along with finishing at the other end with a transition basket. As she grows older and matures, I see her playing either a 2 or 4 position.”
As Kaycee enjoyed the moment of Signing Day, Beth stood back with husband David, who helped to organize the event, as proud parents.
“I’m so glad things have worked out so well that we’ve reached this point,” Beth said. “A lot of people who have seen Kaycee play or just see her stats don’t see the hard work and dedication that go into all of her success. It’s this day that’s the pay off for all time and effort spent.”
Charette plans to major in business.