WHITESBORO — As part of a senior class that has had success across several sports, Scout Sanders, Noah Greisen, Riley Dickson and Brooks Barker have all had individual moments in helping the Bearcats compete at a statewide level.
The culmination of all that effort and hard work paid off on Wednesday morning as the quartet announced their intent to continue their athletic pursuits at the next level.
Sanders signed to play baseball with Hill College while Greisen signed with Arkansas Tech for football and both Dickson and Barker are headed to Hardin-Simmons.
Sanders chose the junior college program over Hardin Simmons and Austin College.
He also had football options after being a first-team all-state selection utility player and the district’s Offensive Player of the Year as a senior with 1,069 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing and 1,949 yards and 22 TDs passing and the district MVP as a junior but decided his future was on the diamond.
“I thought about it real hard,” he said. “I’ve always been a baseball guy. Hill gives me the best opportunity to pursue my dreams. Hopefully after Hill I can go to Oklahoma State.”
Sanders, who will move to center field this season and continue as outfielder in college, hit .457 with 10 doubles, 34 RBI and an on-base percentage of .547 as a third baseman while also going 8-2 with a 1.37 earned run average and 64 strikeouts and just eight walks in 51 innings as Whitesboro went 18-5 last season. He was the 9-3A Utility Player of the Year and named third-team all-state by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association and honorable mention all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association.
As a sophomore he was part of the best season in school history when the Bearcats reached the Class 3A state tournament for the first time and finished with a 28-9 record after losing to eventual state champ Nacogdoches Central Heights in the semifinals. Sanders was named to the all-state tournament team. He was a right fielder for the Bearcats as a freshman.
Former teammate Kade Brewer is a freshman catcher for the Rebels.
“He tells me what’s going on. He’s one of my best friends,” Sanders said. “I went up there and hit with Kade and their coaches loved me. They offered at the end of my junior year.”
Hill College went 25-23 overall in 2018 and 15-17 in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. The team is off to a 4-0 start this season.
Greisen chose the Division II program over Ouachita Baptist and Southeastern Oklahoma State.
“The campus was amazing,” he said. “The offense that they run, I fit in there. That was a big factor — to be a part of the right offense for me. I have a good opportunity to compete for a spot.”
He was an honorale mention all-state selection kick returner and the district’s Utility Player of the Year for his effort on offense — 56 catches for 793 yards and eight touchdowns — defense and special teams. As a junior he was first-team all-district with 35 catches for 563 yards and two touchdowns and second-team all-district in the secondary. Greisen was also first-team all-district as a sophomore.
“I had a few different schools want me as a defensive back,” he said. “My heart is on offense. I like to make something happen.”
Arkansas Tech went 3-8 overall and in the Great American Conference after posting an 8-4 mark, playing in the Live United Bowl, and 8-3 record in GAC play in 2017.
Sanders and Greisen helped the Bearcats capture the Class 3A Region II track title as part of the state-qualifying 400 relay last spring which finished fourth. Greisen also took silver in the 200 meter dash and was on the bronze-winning 800 relay as Whitesboro finished third in the team standings.
“I’ve had a bunch of offers for track,” Greisen said. “It was a tough decision but my heart is football.”
Barker chose the Division III program over Austin College, Southern Nazarene and Tarleton State.
“It was a tough decision,” he said. “The coaching staff, they always make sure to get the best out of you.”
He was a first-team all-district selection as a senior at running back with 104 carries for 741 yards and nine touchdowns as well as at linebacker and punter. Barker was a second-team all-district pick on offense and at punter as a junior and a second-team all-district linebacker as a sophomore.
“They listed me as an athlete,” Barker said. “Potentially running back, potentially defense. They said I would punt. Wherever there’s an opportunity for me to contribute. I wanted to go to a place where I fit in.”
Dickson picked the Cowboys over Austin College, Southwestern (Kan.) and Missouri Valley.
“The atmosphere was great,” he said. “Everything about it felt right for me.”
He was a first-team all-district selection on the defensive line as a senior and will continue on that side of the ball in college. Dickson also competed in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl that was held at NRG Stadium in Houston last month. He was a first-team all-district pick on defense and second-team all-district on offense as a junior.
Hardin-Simmons went 9-2 this past season and 8-1 in the American Southwest Conference behind only Mary Hardin-Baylor. The two teams met in the first round of the NCAA playoffs and Mary Hardin-Baylor handed the Cowboys their only other loss on the way to winning the Division III national championship.
The Cowboys have won at least nine games each of the past four years and made the D-III playoffs every season.
“It was very exciting to see they can compete for a national championship,” Dickson said. “That was a big deciding factor for me.”