Recruits from all over the country have had the last week to sign their national letter of intent with Division I programs to play in the 2019-20 season.
While basketball recruiting receives most of the attention at Wichita State, other Shockers programs were successfully able to build for the future this past week.
Here’s a recap of the recruiting classes for the baseball, volleyball, softball, tennis and golf programs.
Signings (18): Mark Adamiak, 6-4, right-handed pitcher, Shawnee, Kan. (Shawnee Mission Northwest); Aaron Bechtel, 5-11, right-handed pitcher, Valley Center, Kan. (Coffeyville CC); Colin Burgess, 5-9, catcher, Lexington, Ky. (Tates Creek); Cade Clemons, 6-2, utility, Lee’s Summit, Mo. (Lee’s Summit West); Couper Cornblum, 6-0, infield, Woodway, Texas (Midway); James Dunlap, third base, Tulsa, Okla. (Bishop Kelly); Quinton Hall, 6-2, outfield, Shawnee, Kan. (Mill Valley); Beau Leonards, 6-3, left-handed pitcher, Plano, Texas (Plano Senior); Blake Marsh, 6-2, first base, Coppell, Texas (Trinity Academy); Connor Oliver, 6-4, left-handed pitcher, Oak Forest, Ill. (Oak Forest); Jake Owens, 6-1, outfield, Shawnee, Kan. (Johnson County CC); Austin Roccaforte, 5-7, infield, Tomball, Texas (Tomball Memorial); Austin Seidel, 6-3, right-handed pitcher, New Braunfels, Texas (Cloud County CC); Derek Shaver, 6-4, third base, Grand Junction, Colo. (Grand Junction); Brady Slavens, 6-3, infield, Olathe, Kan. (Olathe Northwest); Will Stevens, 6-3, right-handed pitcher, Kansas City, Mo. (Park Hill); Brandon Troxler, 6-2, first base, Rockwall, Texas (Rockwall); Kyle Wilson, 6-4, right-handed pitcher, Fort Worth, Texas (Keller Central).
Outlook: The youth movement is under way at WSU. After taking 18 freshmen in its 2019 recruiting class, WSU took 18 more newcomers with its 2020 recruiting class. According to Perfect Game, Todd Butler landed the No. 45 recruiting class in the country and the second-best in the AAC (just behind No. 42 Tulane and ahead of No. 46 East Carolina). The recruiting class was highlighted by WSU landing two of the top high school prospects in Kansas in shortstop Brady Slavens and outfielder Quinton Hall, who are also two top-200 recruits nationally. Other standout recruits that received high grades from Perfect Game are third baseman Derek Shaver, right-handed starter Will Stevens, middle infielder Couper Cornblum and middle infielder Austin Roccaforte.
Signings (7): Nicole Anderson, 6-0, outside hitter, Richardson, Texas (Plano East); Arianna Arjomand, 5-8, libero, Orlando, Fla. (Bishop Moore); Skylar Goering, 5-11, outside hitter, Wichita, Kan. (Maize South); Shea Lauria, 5-5, libero, Colgate, Wis. (Brookfield East); Lily Liekweg, 5-5, libero, Janesville, Iowa (Janesville); Kayce Litzau, 6-0, setter, Greendale, Wis. (Greendale); Sophia Rohling, 6-3, outside hitter, Thayer, Kan. (Neodesha).
Outlook: WSU only has two graduating seniors on the team, but that didn’t stop coach Chris Lamb from loading up on future talent in this year’s recruiting class. The Shockers added three liberos/defensive specialists, three outside hitters and a setter.
Anderson was a three-year starter at Plano East and a team captain as a senior. “We need her to have veteran IQ and stability out there and do everything — passing, digging, attacking from both ends and back row attacking,” Lamb said. “I want to put the world on her shoulders and watch her handle it. She can be a very, very busy four-year player at Wichita State.”
Arjomand was a libero/defensive specialist for a state championship team in 2017. “Arianna has a lot of experience, having played at a high level all through youth volleyball,” Lamb said. “Her volleyball IQ and skills are what jumped out at me. She will be able to make an impact early at Wichita State.”
Goering is a local product from Maize South who hit .421 with 382 kills and 252 digs as a senior. “I’m super happy Skylar is coming to Wichita State,” Lamb said. “I’ve watched her develop as a young player, being from Wichita. I feel like Skylar’s best volleyball is way out in front of her. She is talented and I can see her working herself into a role on either pin.”
Lauria registered 687 digs as a libero/defensive specialist senior and was named her high school team’s MVP this fall. “Shea impressed us in camp with her all-around energy and enthusiam,” Lamb said. “She’s someone who just can’t wait to get in the gym every day and be a part of the team. I think she’s underrated at her position and she’ll make a mark here in the future.”
Liekweg, a libero/defensive specialist, compiled 465 digs and 3.9 digs per set as a senior on a high school team that won state championships all four years. “Lily is as good of an athlete at her position as we’ve ever recruited,” Lamb said. “The sky’s the limit for Lily. She is asbolutely the athlete that everybody is hoping to find at the position. She is loaded with upside.”
Litzau is a 6-foot setter who was an all-state selection and Player of the Year as a senior after a season with 752 assists. “Kayce has so much energy, enthusiasm and hustle. She just reminds me of Katie Reilly, who had the best motor in perhaps Shocker history. I can’t wait to train and develop her as a setter.”
Rohling is a native Kansan who has been a standout 6-3 outside hitter for Neodesha. “Sophia is a small-town talent whose skills have improved at a very fast rate, lately,” Lamb said. “Her physical presence and power should allow us to do a lot with her sooner than we originally thought. We’re also going to be training her in several spots, as well.”
Signings (6): Lainee Brown, catcher, Oklahoma City, Okla. (Choctaw); Madyson Espinosa, utility, St. Louis, Mo. (Ladue); Lauren Johnson, outfield, Wichita, Kan. (Maize South); Sydney Nichols, infield, Cameron, Mo. (Cameron); Kiersten Nixon, pitcher, O’Fallon, Mo. (Troy Buchanan); Bailey Urban, outfield, Omaha, Neb. (Millard South).
Outlook: Kristi Brebenner has serious momentum with the program, coming off its first appearance in a NCAA regional championship game. The Shockers should once again be competitive this coming spring, but Bredbenner knew with five seniors set to graduate this recruiting class would be big in how the Shockers compete in the AAC for the coming years.
Brown appears to be the catcher of the future for WSU with Madison Perrigan set to be a senior in 2020. “Lainee brings a strong arm and a solid defensive presence behind the plate,” Bredbenner said in a statement. “She has potential to hit for power and provides some much-needed depth and experience at the catcher position. She has played at the highest level in her travel ball experiences and will come into the program ready for the pace of Division I softball.”
Espinosa adds some versatility for WSU in the infield, as she is capable of playing multiple positions. “Two words easily describes Madyson: spark plug,” Bredbenner said. “Her energy and enthusiasm for the game is apparent in every aspect of her play. Madyson is a person that will outwork everyone.”
Johnson is a Maize South product who figures to make an immediate impact in the outfield, a position of need with Asea Webber and Bailey Lange set to graduate. “Lauren is adding true speed and athleticism to our roster,” Bredbenner said. “She is a true triple threat with her ability to bunt, slap and drive the ball to the outfield. Lauren is a true competitor. She swings a great stick from the left side and will provide us with speed and a strong arm in the outfield. Lauren has a high ceiling and will flourish if she continues to work hard on the field.”
Nichols has been a standout shortstop who has hit for power at the high school level and could be the shortstop of the future with Laurie Derrico set to graduate in the spring. “Sydney is an experienced middle infielder with a great glove and quick hands,” Bredbenner said. “Syd plays for one of best travel ball teams in the Midwest and has really shown a great deal of improvement in her swing over the last year. With her hard work and smooth hands, she will compete for a starting spot in the middle infield.”
Nixon is a highly-touted pitching prospect who finished her junior season with a 21-3 record, 1.14 ERA and 273 strikeouts in 160 innings. With WSU’s ace, Bailey Lange, set to graduate, Nixon gives WSU another arm to help fill that hole. “She is an impact pitcher and has tremendous upside,” Bredbenner said. “She spins the ball very well for a young pitcher. Her bulldog mentality and desire to learn will make her tough in the circle for the next four years. When you add her to our current pitching staff, she could win a lot of ball games.”
Urban gives WSU more depth at outfielder in the coming years with two set to graduate this spring. “We are fortunate to benefit from that passion and athleticism for the next four years,” Bredbenner said. “She is a big swinger with power to drive the long ball and the speed to steal bases. Her range and arm strength in the outfield will make an immediate impact in our program.”
Signings (4): Zach Grueber, 6-1, Columbia, Mo. (Rock Bridge); Rafael Serra, 6-2, Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West); Bruno Serra, 6-2, Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley West); Alex Richards, 5-9, Tulsa, Okla.
Outlook: It’s time to reload for coach Danny Bryan, as the Shockers will graduate a total of four seniors and three in the scoring lineup after this spring. Bryan believes he has found the core for the program in the coming years, landing a highly-touted brother doubles team, a four-star singles player and a three-star prospect in Missouri. “All four players are very good kids, hard-workers and have had impressive tennis results so far in their careers,” Bryan said in a statement.
Grueber, who has a 61-9 career record in singles at Rock Bridge, is rated as the third-best prospect in Missouri and a three-star recruit. This past spring, Grueber won the individual Class 2 doubles title and helped Rock Bridge to its third straight Class 2 team title. “Zach is a great kid and he is a very hard worker and very committed to his game,” Bryan said. “We look forward to continue to develop his game.”
The Serra brothers, Rafael and Bruno, come to WSU as a highly-touted pair originally from Brazil. Bruno is a two-time state champion and was named the Kansas Player of the Year in 2018. Bruno is rated a four-star recruit and the No. 2 player in Kansas, while Rafael is a three-star recruit and the No. 3 player in Kansas. “They have been very successful in doubles together,” Bryan said. “Bruno and Rafael are big guys with big games and come from a very good junior program. We are looking forward to helping them take their games to the next level.”
Richards is a Tulsa native who trains at the Tucker Tennis Academy under Matias Marin. He is a four-star recruit and the No. 2 player in Oklahoma. “Alex is someone who we’ve been following for awhile and has steadily been improving his results,” Bryan said. “He’s a very solid player who also has a great work ethic. He comes from a strong junior academy in Tulsa. We are looking forward to getting him on campus.”
Signing (1): Joe Bultman, Kansas City, Kan. (Shawnee Mission Northwest).
Outlook: With two of its top scorers set to graduate in Yannik Emmert and Adrien Michellod, WSU didn’t have to go far from home to find a replacement. Bultman is one of the best golfers in Kansas and was named the KGCA Player of the Year in 2018. Bultman will join a team with three juniors and three sophomores next season, a young core that should have the Shockers set for years to come.
“Joe will come in right away and help us here at Wichita State,” WSU associate head coach Judd Easterling said in a statement. “We have watched Joe play a lot of golf and we have always been impressed with his game, whether it’s playing here locally in Kansas or on the national stage at the United States Junior Amateur Championship. Joe is a huge signee for us, a top-level player that can come in right away and help us.”
Signings (3): Sarah Lawson, Kansas City, Kan. (Mill Valley); Aufa Putri Rachmadya, Jakarta, Indonesia; Mar Vidal, Barcelona, Spain.
Outlook: Coach Tom McCurdy knew he was losing his two top golfers (Laine Evans and Gavrilla Arya) in the spring, so he had to find immediate-impact players. He feels like he accomplished that with a standout from Mill Valley in Lawson and two players with a wealth of international experience in Vidal and Rachmadya.
Lawson helped lead Mill Valley to its first girls golf state championship last season with a runner-up individual performance. “Her game has improved dramatically in the past year,” McCurdy said in a release. “She is very intelligent and coachable; a fantastic team player and Sarah is a golfer that we are going to be looking to for the Shockers to make a big jump up in the American.”
Vidal hails from Spain and recently won the 2018 Maresma Championship. “Mar is a very solid golfer,” McCurdy said. “Her fundamentals are sound and she has a high ceiling. Although she has good international experience, I think that her best is yet to come. Her attitude and demeanor are ideal for continued development as an athlete and she is going to be a consistent contributor for the Shockers.”
Rachmadya is a highly-touted prospect from Indonesia, where she was the 2018 Junior Golf Premier League Champion. “Aufa is such a good all-around golfer,” McCurdy said. “She is the type of golfer that will put consistent numbers on the board and with her great attitude, she’s also the type of player that will make others around her better. Always smiling, always positive, always giving her best. Those are Aufa’s strengths and Shocker Golf just got a whole lot better with her signing.”