There weren’t any nationally televised pick-a-hat performances at Eden Prairie High School. Instead, all 20 students donned their future school’s colors.
The college-bound student-athletes, ranging from baseball players to swimmers, were celebrated Wednesday morning on National Signing Day.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was among the parents, friends and faculty in attendance. His son, Ronnie, signed to play lacrosse at Ohio State.
“Great university, and it’s where we grew up, kind of, from home,” said Spielman, who attended high school two hours from Columbus, Ohio. “We’ve very excited about him getting an opportunity to play a high level of lacrosse.”
Ronnie Spielman also was a running back and defensive back for the Class 6A football state champions, but he said lacrosse offered him the better educational opportunities at a Division I level.
He received offers from other top lacrosse programs in the country, including Maryland, before deciding on the Buckeyes in November during his visit. Ronnie said he listened to his father’s advice throughout the process.
“He said don’t choose very fast,” Ronnie said. “You want to have your options open. Choose a school that you love being at for four years, or however long you’re going to be there.”
Offensive lineman Rob Olson and tight end Zach Hovey both took their time, too. Olson announced last week that he will play football for Oregon State, while Hovey is headed for Miami (Ohio).
Olson’s finalists also included Princeton, with its Ivy League education, and Kentucky, with its lure of playing in the SEC. But the Beavers’ on-field success helped tip the balance.
“Coming from a program like Eden Prairie where winning is a tradition, it meant a lot to me to go to a successful program,” Olson said.
Hovey said he spoke to New Mexico, Bucknell and Wisconsin as a walk-on before deciding on Miami (Ohio) during his official visit.
“It’s been a great experience; kind of glad it’s over because it’s pretty stressful,” Hovey said.
Running back Anthony Anderson, who emerged as a late bloomer in the recruiting process after a strong senior season, will attend Iowa Western Community College. He said he hopes to eventually land at a Division I school. Anderson also said it would’ve been an issue to qualify.
Anderson said he drew interest from Minnesota, New Mexico and Wyoming, and all those programs suggested that he should attend Iowa Western.