Senior Panther athletes to continue careers
By Sue Sitter
Rugby High Senior athletes Maria Blessum, Karsyn Hager, David Schneibel Jr. and Anni Stier have accepted offers to play for four North Dakota colleges and universities next year.
The scholarship recipients told the Tribune they look forward to their futures in college sports.
Hager’s award was announced in a press release from Bismarck State College.
The release said Hager “signed a letter of intent to play basketball for the Mystics. Karsyn, a 5’7″ guard from Rugby, ND, averaged 12 points per game her senior year.”
BSC coach Marv Pedersen said in the release, “Karsyn will make an early impact with her shooting and ball handling skills.”
Hager said of her future plans and studies at BSC, “Right now, I’m looking at physical education.” Hager said the major could lead to “possibly teaching, or becoming an athletic trainer, or just a personal trainer, and I want to be a coach, too.”
Hager, who began playing basketball and other sports in the fourth grade with some of her RHS teammates, said of the Panther athletic program, “I think it’s really good. They started us out at a young age, and it’s shown now. We started about fourth grade. My dad (Chad Hager) just started (coaching players) at Ely (Elementary). Then, we played for (Rugby School District) in fifth and sixth grade.”
“I played four sports,” Hager noted: “Basketball, volleyball, track and cross country.”
Lady Panther teammate Anni Stier, who was named to the 2019 All-State Class B Girls’ Basketball Team at the North Dakota State Tournament earlier this month, participated in the same four sports as Hager. Stier, a guard, said she began early in basketball with Hager at Ely Elementary.
Stier signed on with the University of Jamestown, and will participate in track & field* and play basketball for the Jimmies.
“I’m thinking elementary education,” Stier said of her planned major. “I’m thinking of teaching kindergarten.”
“Like Karsyn said, I think the program here’s really good,” Stier noted. “We’ve been playing together for a long time – since fourth grade, and we’ve been playing with the same people for a long time. I think it really helps.”
What will Stier miss about Rugby High? “Probably I’d say my teammates. I’ll have new friends and teammates, but for sure, I’ll miss them.”
Although Maria Blessum played for the Lady Panther basketball and volleyball teams, she signed on to North Dakota State University for pole vaulting.
“I didn’t do cross country,” Blessum said of her participation in Panther sports, “but I did basketball, volleyball and track.”
“I’m going to major in elementary ed and math ed, and hopefully get a minor in coaching,” Blessum said of her future plans. “I’d like to teach at an elementary school and coach at a high school.”
“I think we’ve got a great coaching staff in all levels, in all sports and just great teammates to play with, and they made it a lot of fun,” Blessum said of Panther athletics.
What will Blessum miss most from her years in RHS sports?
“I think the teammates and the coaches,” she said.
David Schneibel Jr., who goes by the nickname D.J., played defensive tackle for the RHS Panther football squad, signed on with Minot State University, where he’ll play football for the Beavers.
“I’m trying to double major in history and physical education,” Schneibel said. “I’ll hopefully get a minor in coaching and then either come back or teach at a high school. Hopefully come back here, teach and coach,” he added.
“Or, if the college works out and I like the college gig, I might try to coach college football somewhere.”
“We had a good coaching staff and we were competitive against any opponent,” Schneibel said of the Panthers. “I’ll miss the coaches and teammates, and the fun we had.”
* Edited from print edition. The print edition did not have this detail. The Tribune regrets the omission.