Eaton’s Austen Alexander and Michelle McKinney recently signed letters-of-intent to compete at the collegiate level.
Alexander is taking his soccer talents to Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana, while McKinney will take her track and cross country skills to the University of Kentucky.
“It’s a very exciting day. We here at Eaton High School are so proud of what you’ve accomplished and know that you are going to move on to do even more special things in college and we’re excited to watch that and follow you there,” Eaton Athletic Director Eric Silverman said during the ceremony held in February. “Like I said, we are so tremendously proud of what you’ve achieved. We know you are only just beginning.”
While at Eaton, Alexander earned team MVP three times, while being selected as an all-league performer in each of his final three seasons.
He tallied 14 goals and recorded 12 assists this past fall, which earned a spot on the All-Miami Valley first team in Division II and all-District.
“It’s been a fun four-year ride with Austen. He came in as a freshman not knowing what to expect and ended up being a starter his freshman year as a varsity player. He excelled from there. I’m proud of what Austen has accomplished, not only as a student, but an athlete,” Eaton boys soccer coach Eric Kiracofe said. “I wish him the best of luck next year in college.”
“It’s just of kind of closer to home for me. It’s not too far away but not too close. I’m hoping to go in my first year and compete for a starting spot.
“I think my vision’s real good and I’m a scoring threat from a lot of places on the field, which is always good,” said Alexander, who scored 36 goals during his four seasons.
“Four years as a starter for varsity means a lot to me. I’ve started every game that’s I’ve played, which in my eyes is a big achievement. I have a lot of memories.”
Franklin College, which went 4-11-2 last season, competes in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
For McKinney, the choice was simple. A chance to compete at the Division I level in the Southeastern Conference, not to mention her dad and uncle are both UK fans.
The defending Division II 800-meter state champion in track and three-time state qualifier in cross country, said once UK began showing interest there was really no need to look anywhere else.
“Once they started showing interest I knew all along that was head over heels over everyone,” she said. “I met the coaches and went down there for my official visit and I met the girls, loved the team, loved the coaches, loved the campus, just loved everything about it,” she said “I wanted to go to a big school. I want to challenge myself.”
And there was no pressure from dad.
“There was no pressure at all from him. A lot of people thought that there was, but there really wasn’t at all,” she said.
She said she is excited to be competing in two sports.
“It’s going to be challenging,” she said. “I’m excited for the challenge. I’m just anxious to see how that is all going to go.”
Her list of accomplishments at Eaton are numerous and will continue to grow as the track season begins.
“Those of you who know Michelle, know she’s pretty much a competitor and I’ve enjoyed working with her. I still get to have one more season to work with her and we are going to make the best out of that. A lot D-I schools were very interested in Michelle. To me the biggest compliment came from the Kentucky coach,” Eaton track and cross country coach Randy McKinney said. “He didn’t recruit just a runner. He recruited a person to fit his program and one of the things he told Michelle, and I say this because she’s not the kind of person who would say it, he told Michelle ‘I want a national championship in three years, you’re one of the people I want to make that happen.’ To me that says a whole lot to why they recruited her.”