Not one, not two, but three Louise seniors will be continuing their athletic careers in college, after signing their national letters of intent earlier this year.
The trio of future college athletes are the first multiple signees for Louise in recent memory.
Roy Arrambide signed his letter of intent to play football for Coe College in Iowa. Ethan Wendel signed his letter of intent to play baseball for McMurry University in Abilene. Addison Lewis will keep her talents closer to Wharton County, signing her letter of intent to play volleyball at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.
“It is amazing to see our student-athletes go on and continue their academic and athletic careers,” Louise athletic director Manny Freeland said. “It shows the younger kids that it can be done. That is the best part about them moving forward and pursuing their goals academically and athletically. It is a lot easier to drive down a road that someone else has paved for you.”
Chris Vasquez is the last Louise athlete to sign with a college, two years ago he signed with Buena Vista University in Iowa. Vasquez is an offensive lineman and, as a freshmen, played one game with Buena Vista last season.
The Louise coaches believe this is the first time three athletes have signed an athletic scholarship in the same school year, at the very least in recent memory.
Texas Lutheran University
This past season Lewis played softball, basketball and ran track, but she stood out on the volleyball court. Her volleyball skills earned her a first-team all-district honor and a scholarship to continue playing at Texas Lutheran.
“It was really exciting to have the whole school come in and watch and support me,” Lewis said, recalling signing day. “It just felt nice to have all these options of where to go and you’re stressed out about where to pick, so it’s nice to finally pick and stick with a college, it’s relieving.”
Before the season started, Lady Hornet coach Amber Miles, set Lewis up on a scouting website. Throughout the season as Lewis racked up kills and blocks, she started getting texts and calls from coaches around the country. Wanting to stay closer to home, she took visits to Texas Lutheran and Wharton Junior College.
However, TLU stood out to Lewis, she liked the area and it was close to home, but not too close.
“I really liked the campus. The coaches were very welcoming. It just felt like a new family for me,” Lewis said.
For the Lady Hornets, Lewis played on the outside, smacking kills all over the place, but in college, she’ll be moving to middle blocker. While the position will be a little bit different, it’s nothing she isn’t used to.
“They had like three middles that graduated (and) all my highlights are pretty much me hitting from the middle instead of the outside. That’s all they’ve seen me do is playing the middle,” Lewis said.
TLU is a Division III program and plays in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs won their conference tournament last season. They lost in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Lewis is hoping she won’t be the only Lady Hornet athlete who’ll be playing a sport in college.
“I believe a bunch of (Lady Hornets) have the potential to get a (scholarship) and have the opportunity to go to college to play if they would like to. If they need any help, I’ll help them get started,” Lewis said. “I hope some of them (take) the chance because it’s really exciting.”
Lewis plans to study kinesiology at TLU with the plans of being a coach or athletic trainer.
College football is a dream of many and, if not for his uncle, it might have been nothing more than a dream for Arrambide.
Following the football season, Arrambide got interest from coaches, but he never landed an offer.
“I wasn’t too sure if I was going to continue with football,” Arrambide said.
For the Hornets, Arrambide did a little bit of everything. However, what he has been known for is his kicking skills, booting the football out of the end zone on a regular basis. Over the last few years, the Hornets haven’t had many opportunities to show off his field goal skills, Arrambide nailed a 47-yard field goal this season.
Arrambide’s uncle Danny Gaona Jr., a former Hornet assistant coach and current Wharton assistant coach, pushed the Hornet kicker to try out at the Annual Houston Senior Football Showcase.
After a couple of check-ins from Gaona, he finally signed up.
At the showcase, Arrambide did what he normally does, kick the ball out of the back of the endzone and nailed a few field goals, including one from 54 yards and another from 50.
“It was nerve-racking. You have one session in the morning and one in the afternoon, with about 200 people and coaches there,” Arrambide said. “You have a lot of pressure on you because you’re kicking on the (Houston Texans practice field), but it was a good experience.”
The performance was enough to get a call and an offer from the Coe College coaches who flew down to Texas to come to the showcase.
Arrambide isn’t really a lifelong football player and only really took up the sport when he transferred from El Campo to Louise. As a sophomore he picked up kicking and never looked back, three years later, he’ll be going to college to do it, something that is still a little shocking to him.
“I got into kicking my sophomore year and enjoyed it. I continued kicking and now I’m just surprised to be playing college ball because I didn’t expect it to come out like that,” Arrambide said. “Here in Louise, I was able to stand out.”
Being from El Campo, Iowa will be quite different, but he’s ready for what’s next in his story.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve always told my mom I wanted to play college football. It’s not a big school, but I’m playing college football and that’s all that matters,” Arrambide said. “It will be tough leaving my mom because she’s the main person who supported me, so it’s nerve-wracking.”
Coe College is a Division III school and competes in the American Rivers Conference. Coe went 7-2 and 6-2 in conference this past season.
Arrambide will study Spanish in college and plans to be a teacher and coach.
As a near seven-footer, there aren’t many places Wendel goes where he doesn’t stand out, but this past summer on his travel ball team his pitching started to turn heads as he took part in out-of-state tournaments.
Wendel was able to pitch in front of baseball scouts and coaches around the country. While at a Texas State camp, McMurry was able to see Wendel and they called to him the next day and asked him to come for a visit.
“I really enjoyed the area, the campus is really nice and small so that’s basically (what I was looking for),” Wendel said.
Wendel had a number of offers to choose from, but the prospect of pitching as a freshman was something he didn’t want to pass up.
“They’re losing a few guys, so I’ll get the opportunity to throw early on and build strength and velocity,” Wendel said. “They really wanted me. I get a call once every three weeks asking me how it’s going and that they’re ready for me to come up there. I felt like they really wanted me to be a part of their program.”
With Wendel, a right-hander, the McMurry pitching staff will turn heads next year. Not only will he be pitching for them, but McMurry added another near seven-foot tall pitcher to the recruiting class, a lefty, Wendel said.
While Wendel swings the bat with Louise, in college he’ll mainly focus on pitching.
After signing, Wendel felt a sense of relief knowing college was secured.
“I still wanted to play in tournaments, but I didn’t have to struggle with my mom video-tapping every pitch to send it out to coaches,” Wendel said. “I was just happy I didn’t have to struggle with the recruiting process anymore.”
McMurry is a Division III school and plays in the American Southwest Conference. They missed out on the conference tournament this past season.
Wendel plans to study kinesiology at TLU with the plans of being a coach or athletic trainer.
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