CHEYENNE – Jefferson Danso and Sam Hageman had offers to take their track and field talents elsewhere, but they decided to stay home.
The Cheyenne East seniors both signed with the University of Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon.
“The more I talked to the coaches, the more it seemed like the perfect fit,” Danso said.
Danso is a two-time Class 4A triple jump state champion. Cowboys jumps coach Quincy Howe was among the spectators lined up along the fence at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper as Danso uncorked a leap of 48 feet, ½ inch to repeat as state champ.
Danso also is a two-time indoor state champ, and was state runner-up in triple jump during the 2017 indoor season.
Under Howe, jumpers have emerged as UW’s highest-performing track athletes.
Triple jumper Scott Carter was third nationally in 2017, seniors Jerayah Davis and Ja’la Henderson have both won Mountain West titles, and sophomore William Nolan – a Cheyenne South graduate – was second in the MW.
“I have heard (Howe) is one of the best jumping coaches out there,” Danso said. “I saw his marks, and the marks the people he is coaching are getting. I want to see how far I can get under his coaching.”
Danso plans to study kinesiology, and wants to be a physical therapist.
Hageman’s college choice came down to preferred walk-on offers from UW and Colorado State.
“I have a good number of friends there, including Pete Mead, who is doing the same thing I’m going to do,” Hageman said, referring to his former East teammate. “He was a preferred walk-on there, and
and he had a pretty good season.
“I think it would be really fun to reignite some of that 4x100 magic we had,” Hageman said.
Hageman, Mead, Danso and Dakota Merritt all were part of the Thunderbirds’ championship 4x100 relay team in 2018. They never lost a race together.
Hageman was the Class 4A champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as a junior. He placed third in the 200 and fourth in the 100 at this year’s outdoor state meet.
Hageman, Danso, Merritt and junior Jacee Sheets placed second in the 4x100 this spring.
Hageman is excited about joining a program on the rise.
“They have a lot of good kids going there, and have gone from finishing last in the conference to being fifth,” he said. “I want to go there and help them build something. It might be a year or two before I factor into that, but I’m looking forward to working my way up again.”
Hageman is undecided on his college major.
McEwan signs with Johnson & Wales
Kalee McEwan found a school where she can combine two of her passions – basketball and cooking.
The 6-foot post player signed with NCAA Division II Johnson & Wales University in Denver. The career-oriented school is widely known for its culinary arts program.
“I really love cooking,” McEwan said. “I cook dinner for my mom all the time, and I bake randomly when I’m bored.”
McEwan says the best dish she makes is a potato-kale soup, and that she loves watching “Chopped” on Food Network.
McEwan averaged eight points and five rebounds in 84 games with East. The T-Birds played for the state title all three seasons she was on varsity, winning it all in 2017.
McEwan posted career-best averages of 9.4 points and 5.6 rebounds to earn all-state honors in 2018.
“The coach (Bob Kintzel) is really nice, and I knew I wanted to play for him the first time I met him,” McEwan said. “He really wanted me there, and he really fought for me. He came to more than one of my games, he messaged me every day about things other than basketball. It was really nice.
“I also like that it’s still close to home. I didn’t want to be too far from my mom, but I wanted to be far enough away that I could grow up and do my own thing.”
McEwan can be a force in the paint, East coach Eric Westling said.
“Our opponents knew where she was whenever we played,” he said. “She is a winner, a great kid and a great student.”