Craig Student Athletes sign National Letters of Intent to play at College

On Wednesday, November 9, 2022, five of Craig’s student-athletes signed national letters of intent to play sports in college. 

Ally Donagan will join the NCAA Division 2 Mavericks of Minnesota State University in Mankato. Ellie Magestro Kennedy will join the Division 1 Raiders of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Both Jake Schaffner and Aiden Schenk will join the Division 1 Bison Baseball team of North Dakota State University in Fargo. Natalie Ziebell will join the gymnastics team of Division 1 Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. 

All of the athletes have a combined 3.8 GPA, a fact that Craig athletic director Ben McCormick was happy to point out. 

“It is a great recognition that really highlights what a student-athlete is,” he said. 

Ally Donagan looks forward to continuing her swimming career at Minnesota State University. As a Maverick, she’ll harness her lessons from her coaches, and her energy to fuel a successful collegiate career. 

Donagan said, “I can’t thank my parents enough” for the support they have and will continue to give her. 

Donagan’s most memorable moments from high school swim come from “hanging out with the team and friends.” Donagan looks to continue to grow in team comradery at Minnesota State University. The team, coaches, and school are what convinced Donagan to pursue her swimming career at Minnesota State University.

Ellie Magestro Kennedy will continue to ball out playing basketball at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Getting to this point is a dream come true for Magestro Kennedy. 

She said, “I’m thankful for my parents driving me around everywhere, especially my dad too, for always pushing me.” In addition, Magestro Kennedy adds that her father has “always been a good role model for me.” 

Magestro Kennedy also is thankful for her teammates and coaches who have competed by her side. 

“Every moment is memorable at Craig especially being with my team and practices are awesome,” she said. 

Magestro Kennedy is a vital team player and aims to help strengthen the Wright State basketball team in its rebuild process. Magestro Kennedy highlights this opportunity as well as the school, facility, and coaches as big reasons to choose to attend Wright State.

Jake Schaffner will continue his athletic pursuits by playing baseball at North Dakota State University. Schaffner is very thankful for everyone in his sports journey, saying, “I want to thank everyone. Can’t thank my family enough, and my coaches have taught me so well.” 

Schaffner has a handful of great memories from athletic endeavors at Craig. 

“I loved hanging with the guys in all three of my sports, making a brotherhood with them,” he said.

He considers Craig’s wins over Middleton and Oconomowoc in walk-off home runs to be his best baseball moments.

“Beating Parker in football last year was great too because this year didn’t work out so well,” he added. 

Schaffner chose to continue his baseball career as a Bison because of NDSU’s top-notch facilities, and coaches. 

“It’s just an awesome place to go to,” he said.

Joining Jake at NDSU will be his teammate Aiden Schenk.

Schenk is grateful for his family and parents

“They do a lot, lots of gas and money driving me around all the time,” he said.

He also noted that his friends have been great supporters during his athletic pursuits. One of those has been Coach Herbst, who let Schenk come to open gyms since the sixth grade. 

Schenk recalled, “Playing with the big guys made me feel part of the program.” His early involvement with the program helped him play his best now. 

One of Schenk’s best memories from playing Craig baseball was beating Sun Prairie in the 2022 season. 

Schenk says he chose to be a Bison because, “You don’t really hear much about them, but going up there, seeing the facilities, they are top-notch, you feel like you’re at a power five school. The coaching staff is great. They want to make you better.”

Natalie Ziebell will be doing gymnastics at Northern Illinois University. 

Ziebell said, “I want to thank my teammates for always pushing me and to my family for driving me. It is a tough drive, five days a week.” 

The support has made the process worth it for Ziebell. “My coaches pushed me to be the best I can be,” she said. 

Ziebell was a club gymnast, but she did run track for Craig. “I made a lot of memories. It was cool to do something other than gymnastics,” she said.

Ultimately, Ziebell decided to become a Husky after attending some camps and spending time with some of the athletes. She said, “The athletes really make it a family atmosphere at Northern Illinois.” 

These five student-athletes will continue their athletic careers in college and will apply the lessons they learned at Craig to succeed. They will carry on their Cougar pride with them as they compete at the collegiate level!