Two pairs of Sherman athletes formed important parts of the success of their respective teams. They’ll have one more year to keep doing so before heading off to separate colleges to continue in their sports.

Two pairs of Sherman athletes formed important parts of the success of their respective teams. They’ll have one more year to keep doing so before heading off to separate colleges to continue in their sports.


In baseball, seniors Case Rolen and Will Olson both knew they were destined to play at the college level before they ever started playing for Sherman’s varsity.


The Bearcats’ No. 1 battery will be headed to the NCAA Division I ranks next year, but with separate Metroplex schools. Rolen signed with Dallas Baptist on Wednesday, the first day of the NCAA early-signing period, while Olson, a catcher, signed with Texas-Arlington.


"It’s great, getting to continue to play baseball at a Division I program," Olson said. "It’s an awesome feeling."


Added Rolen: "It took a lot of hard work and dedication."


Meanwhile, Lady Bearcat basketball guards Sa’Liesha Hunter and Jayzhia Softly will also be headed off to college next year. Hunter signed with Southeastern Oklahoma State, and Softly with Texas Woman’s University on Wednesday.


"It feels amazing," Softly said. "Just getting to go to the next level and do what I’ve been doing since I was five is just overwhelming. The coaching staff (at TWU) has been watching me for a few years and they never stopped contacting me."


Added Hunter: "I’m excited about being able to fulfill my dream of playing college basketball. I visited the coaches and the team and I felt like I’d be able to fit in and play at the top of my ability."


Though the Lady Cats took a step back last winter by finishing as District 13-4A runner-up, they have been consistent winners with three-year all-district starters Hunter and Softly. Sherman won back-to-back 13-4A championships in their freshman and sophomore seasons.


"They are two great young ladies and I am 100 percent proud of them," Sherman head girls coach Beth Tallant said. "This is only my second year, but I’ve watched them grow from last year to this year, and it’s been a lot of fun."


Tallant said both Hunter and Softly are leaders in different ways. Hunter is a quiet sort who lets her play do the talking, while Softly is more verbal in her leadership style.


"They look for each other on the court and they complement each other’s abilities," Tallant said. "Their personalities are completely different. That’s been a challenge in some ways as a coach, but in a lot of ways it’s been a lot of fun."


The personality differences don’t contrast as much on the diamond with the partnership between Rolen and Olson.


Rolen took over as Sherman’s ace on the mound last spring with Olson as his primary catcher, and though the Bearcats struggled out of the gate, they rallied with five wins in their final six district games to force a play-in game against Royse City.


"At the beginning of the season it wasn’t that fun," said Rolen, who was first-team all-district at first base as a sophomore. "But it was an awesome feeling winning a bunch of baseball games."


Sherman head baseball coach Jason Wright said Rolen and Olson are the two obvious leaders of the team.


"They’re really great baseball players, but the most important thing is they’re better kids and better students," Wright said. "That’s what’s going to make them successful. All their hard work and everything they’ve done is paying off today. They’ve carried this program for four years. They’re the first to show up and the last to leave."


Olson, who will be a four-year starter, said he is going to college to play catcher, but he’s willing to change positions to get more playing time.


"I just want to be able to hit," Olson said. "Whether it’s playing third base or catching."