Seven parish athletes sign

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Left to right, East Ascension's Emily Venable, Donnie LeCombe II, Josh Bates and Jayvin Johnson signed with colleges last week. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Last week was a celebration for seven parish athletes as they signed their letters of intent to take their talents to the next level. Signings were held at both Dutchtown and East Ascension.

On Tuesday, three Dutchtown track stars in Ben Vasterling, Zach Kilpatrick and Nicole Broussard all signed their names to the dotted line.

Vasterling signed with Southeastern. The distance runner is fresh off of winning a district title in the 1,600 with a time of four minutes and 30.11 seconds. He also placed fourth in the 3,200.

Kilpatrick signed with UL-Monroe. In 2015, Kilpatrick was runner-up in the regional meet for the 300 hurdles. In this year’s District 5-5A meet, he won the event with a time of 38.65. He also finished second in the 110 hurdles. He won the 300 hurdles at last week’s regional meet.

Broussard signed with UNO. Broussard earned a third-place finish in the triple jump at this year’s district track meet.

Four athletes signed their letters of intent at East Ascension on Wednesday.

Emily Venable signed on to play volleyball at Nicholls State. Venable was a first-team All-Metro player for the Lady Spartans as they made a run to the second round of the playoffs this past season. She compiled 708 assists, 316 digs and 87 aces.

“The dedication she has had for this sport is unbelievable. It's very rare these days to find a player that has as much love for the game,” East Ascension volleyball head coach Jamie Gilmore said. “She started a little bit for us as a freshman and then became our starting setter as a sophomore. Nicholls is going to be very lucky to have a player like her because she's going to bring a lot to that program."

Donnie LeCombe II signed on to play golf at Hinds Community College in Mississippi.

"He has lettered all four years that he has been a Spartan. That's a real accomplishment in itself,” Spartan golf head coach Billy LaLonde said. “He's done an awesome job. To be able to go to the next level in a sport like this, you have to be mentally tough. It takes a lot, and it says a lot about him."

Two football players signed in Josh Bates and Jayvin Johnson.

Bates was a first-team all-district and second-team All-Parish running back for East Ascension as they made a playoff run in 2015. He signed with Arkansas Baptist.

"He's one of those hard-nosed guys that works hard in the weight room, the track and on the field. He leads by example,” new Spartan head coach Darnell Lee said. “The coaches have described him as a guy that has a grown-man demeanor at the age of 16 and 17. He's not an average kid. He's been through some hardships with the recruiting process. He's seen a lot of ups and downs. I'm just glad that he was able to find a home at Arkansas Baptist.”

Johnson was a first-team all-district and All-Parish selection this season at defensive tackle. He signed with Southern.

"Jayvin's the guy that the scouts come in and wish he was the prototypical 6'5 defensive lineman, but he possesses something a lot of the kids here at East Ascension have, and that's a large heart,” Lee said. “We're never short on heart here. No matter their size, they always give it their all for four quarters. There is just something about him that you can't teach. It's an 'it' factor.”