20190410-spts-central vs east girlssoccer-jb-11-Eliza-Grace Smith

Cheyenne Central’s Eliza-Grace Smith runs the ball ahead of Cheyenne East’s Averi Kastens during the game between Cheyenne East and Cheyenne Central on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at Riske Field. Jacob Byk/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – Eliza-Grace Smith verbally committed to play soccer at the University of Wyoming prior to her sophomore season at Cheyenne Central.

She grew accustomed to curious reactions when her classmates learned she pledged to suit up for the Cowgirls before she could drive.

“I had a lot of people ask why I committed so early, instead of waiting for a bigger school or something like that,” Smith said. “I always told them that it was only a verbal commitment, so I could always change my mind. But I was never going to change my mind.

“My decision was set in stone. This is where I’ve wanted to go since I decided I wanted to play soccer in college. As soon as I got that offer, I jumped on it.”

Smith officially signed her letter of intent to join the Cowgirls on Wednesday afternoon.

Smith – who is leaning toward studying elementary education – was an All-Class 4A selection after helping Central to a state championship as a sophomore.

She has played midfield during her time at Central, but played a few matches as a defender with her Arsenal Academy club team in Fort Collins, Colorado. Smith expects to play midfield when she gets to Laramie, but knows that could change.

Smith is excited about representing her home state and continuing to have the support of her friends and family. Now that she has solidified her commitment with pen and paper, Smith is turning her attention to the next chapter.

“So much has changed in the past year,” Smith said. “After we lost in the state championship my sophomore year, I was really hungry for my junior season. That got canceled because of COVID, and now I can’t wait for this season to start.

“I really want to win that state title again and then head off to Laramie.”

Midfielder Zoe Lam inks with UTSA

Smith wasn’t the only Lady Indian to sign with an NCAA Division I soccer program Wednesday. Zoe Lam signed with the University of Texas-San Antonio, which is the school she pledged to last September.

“I’m super-excited to have finally made everything official,” said Lam, who is leaning toward studying education. “It has been easy to stay focused and continue to push myself because of the coaches and people I have around me. They’ve helped me get where I want to be.”

Lam is a two-time all-state selection, and also plays with the Colorado Rapids youth team in the Elite Clubs National League. The midfielder also has participated in the national Olympic Development Program, which has taken her to international events.

“She is lightning fast and has a big engine to be able to run from box to box as a wide player,” UTSA coach Derek Pittman said. “(Lam) is a dynamic player that can play on either side of the field and be very dangerous coming forward from her outside back position.”

Delbridge will play basketball at Evangel

Familiarity played a major role in Baylee Delbridge’s college choice. She attended her first basketball camp at Evangel University the summer after her sophomore year. Her older brother, Bryson, eventually suited up for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school’s football team.

The Springfield, Missouri, school started to feel like home to Delbridge.

“I went back to their camp this summer, and they started recruiting me hard after that,” said Delbridge. “I met so many people there, and I got along really well with the basketball team and the coaches.

“Everyone was incredibly nice and really wanted me to be there.”

Delbridge, a 5-foot-9 guard, averaged 7.6 points and 2.7 steals to help Central go 19-5 last season. She was named to the 4A all-state squad.

Lobmeyer will throw at MSU-Billings

Dakota Lobmeyer has had her sights set on going to college in Montana for some time. She likes the state and was eager to experience something outside Wyoming’s borders, but she tried to keep an open mind as she weighed her college options.

Lobmeyer chose Montana State University-Billings, where she will throw for the track team.

“Billings is a lot like Cheyenne, and I really liked what I saw up there,” Lobmeyer said. “The school really cares about you. It’s not a place where they say, ‘Hey, you’re an athlete. If you miss class, you miss class.’ They really care about you and want you to do well.”

Lobmeyer missed the entirety of her sophomore season after suffering a left arm injury. She placed ninth in shot put at the 2020 indoor state meet with a heave of 35 feet, 5½ inches.

“I am disappointed about missing my sophomore season and the outdoor season my junior year, so I’m really excited about going up to Billings and showing who I am,” Lobmeyer said.

Puev signs with Dickinson State

Lexi Puev had reservations about signing with Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota. She felt like it was the right fit, but had a nagging feeling she should look at other options.

Then fate intervened.

“I had a wish bracelet I got as a freshman, and my wish was to play college volleyball,” Puev said. “It was something I was going to cut off when I decided which school I was going to attend. The day I did my virtual tour with Dickinson, I looked down at my ankle, and it had snapped and fallen off.

“I knew right then that was a sign that Dickinson was where I was supposed to be. It’s an amazing opportunity, the coach is great, and it’s a good program.”

Puev was a second team all-conference selection this fall.

Lovering signs with Colorado

Lawson Lovering didn’t attend Wednesday’s signing event, but he made his commitment to the University of Colorado basketball team official that morning.

The 7-footer verbally committed to the Buffaloes last October. He averaged 15.9 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. He is a four-star recruit and ranked No. 57 in Rivals.com’s national rankings.

“It’s a weight off my shoulders,” Lovering said in a news release from CU. “It’s nice to finally sign and make it official.”

Buffs coach Tad Boyle likes Lovering’s passion for the game.

“The first question I ask myself if we’re recruiting a 7-footer is, ‘Would he be playing basketball if he were 6 feet tall,’” Boyle said. “If the answer is yes, you should probably recruit them because they love the game. If they love the game, they’re going to continue to get better at the game and work on their body to improve.”

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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