WARSAW – Warsaw has had its fair share of athletes sign the dotted line for college athletics opportunities. Thursday, however, was a new look for the long-standing tradition.
Warsaw Community High School held a signing day Thursday morning in the Tiger Den. Rather than each athlete parading into the athletic office and disseminating their information publicly one at a time, a total of 11 athletes held their ceremonies at the same time before school began. Some of the athletes, such as Harrison Mevis and Kaylee Patton, have already publicly declared their next step intentions, but others made their announcements public for the first time Thursday morning.
WCHS is tentatively planning a second event in the spring to include signees who declare in the new year.
Below is a review of all of the WCHS athletes on hand Thursday morning.
Nick Bazzoni, track and field, Belmont University
Bazzoni is a three-sport standout at Warsaw, competing in cross country, swimming and track. Currently one of the stars for the Warsaw swim program, Bazzoni has chosen to sign with Division 1 Belmont University in Nashville as a track and field athlete, specifically pole vault. Bazzoni was the 2019 sectional champion in pole vault and was a state qualifier. Bazzoni has also been a state qualifier and sectional champion in swimming.
The honor roll student, the son of John and Rebecca Bazzoni, has amassed a 4.37 GPA and plans to major in design communications with a minor in marketing at Belmont.
Bazzoni on choosing a Division 1 school outside the state: “They had a highly-ranked program for my major which attracted me down there in the first place. Once I got down there, I just really fell in love with the team and the coaching staff. It was a very easy choice.”
Gwyn Bellamy, volleyball, Grace College
Bellamy was a big hitter for the Warsaw volleyball program in the fall. Bellamy helped Warsaw to a sectional championship in 2018. In 2019, Bellamy was third on the team with 194 kills and added 50 digs.
The daughter of Melissa Bellamy, Gwyn sits with a 4.26 GPA and is an Academic All-State selection as well as member of National Honor Society. Bellamy plans to study biology and chemistry at Grace.
Bellamy on being straight to the point on her choice to stay local: “I chose Grace because no other college made sense.”
Blake Burns, soccer, Grace College
A star forward with the Tiger soccer program, Burns will take his play to the NCCAA runner-up Lancers next fall. Burns is a three-time All-Northern Lakes Conference pick and was a 2019 Second Team All-District choice. As a senior, Burns led the Tigers with 13 goals and added five assists as the club hovered around the top 10 in Class 3-A.
Burns is a 4.0 GPA student and a member of Campus Life. The son of Brant and Michelle Burns plans to study biology at Grace College.
Burns on choosing to include faith with soccer: “There were a couple other schools I was looking at that are around here. Grace, there’s just something about the people there and the students I talked to, the professors I talked with. You can tell there is a life change there. Their faith runs into all different parts of their life and that’s how they communicate with others and how they live. That was the biggest thing for me because it was evident and that’s why I settled on going there.”
Jacob Desenberg, football, Hope College
Part of the historic run with the Warsaw football program, Desenberg is continuing his football career with Hope. Desenberg was an All-Northern Lakes Conference performer on the offensive line, one that helped the Tigers set a new team record for rushing yards in a season with over 3,800 yards, more than 600 better than the old mark. Warsaw also rushed for 316 yards per game and scored 408 total points, the point total a new program record. Desenberg and the Tigers won its first-ever sectional championship on its home turf at Fisher Field in November.
The son of Rob and Kristi Desenberg, Jacob carries a 3.2 GPA and is a member of the Tiger Leadership Council. Desenberg did not state a major of focus at Hope.
Desenberg on continuing a tradition: “The coaching staff, honestly, was outstanding. They took me on a tour and showed me what the Hope football tradition was like. It honestly opened my eyes to everything. It was so nice. They showed it’s not just about football, but it includes academics. That’s what stood out the most.”
Izzy Dittmar, softball, Indiana Tech
Dittmar has been a slugger with the Warsaw softball program for three years, and after her fourth with the varsity this spring, Dittmar plans to bring her talents to Fort Wayne. A two-time All-Northern Lakes Conference performer, Dittmar had a slash line of .354/.436/.561 as a junior, leading the team in batting average (.354), doubles (8), home runs (3), RBI (24) and OPS (.997). Dittmar also was nominated for the Elite North-South Series and Crossroads Midwest Select showcase all three years of high school as well as finding success at the club level.
The daughter of Deon and Teresa Dittmar, Izzy is a three-year Scholar Athlete and carries a 3.3 GPA. She plans to major in criminal justice at Indiana Tech.
Dittmar on the appeal of Tech: “I love the school and the campus. It’s easy to just say I love the coach (Stephanie Zimny), but she not only seemed to care about the players, but stories I’ve heard about what she’s done for her players and the caregiver she is. She’s not just a coach, and I love that.”
Brielle Harrison, basketball, Bethel University
Harrison has been a key figure for the Lady Tiger basketball program, and will hope to make a similar impact in Mishawaka next season. Transferring from Whitko after her freshman year, Harrison is now a four-year varsity performer in basketball. Through the weekend, Harrison leads Warsaw with a 10.6 points per game average and hauls in nearly six rebounds per contest. The 2018 All-IFN Honorable Mention choice was also an Academic All-Area selection in her only year of soccer, serving as a goalkeeper this past season with the Lady Tigers.
Brielle is the daughter of Sherlock and Jennifer Harrison and looks to major in criminal justice at Bethel.
Harrison on fitting into Bethel’s style: “They play a really fast pace and that’s how I like to play. We run the floor a lot here, and so does Bethel. (Bethel head coach Doug Porter) said he would like to have me playing the four, so I’ll be running up and down the court a lot, which I like to do.”
Grant Knight, swimming, DePauw University
Knight has been a star swimmer with the Tigers, and will get a chance to showcase his abilities at the next level in Greencastle next fall. The 2019 All-American had the top state finish for Warsaw in over 10 years at the IHSAA State Finals when he finished sixth in the breaststroke at the state finals, which crowned Northern Lakes Conference and sectional championships in the event. Knight has been part of over a half-dozen sectional championships over his first three years of varsity swimming at Warsaw and made his third appearance in the breaststroke state finals. He also is a three-time All-Northern Lakes Conference performer.
Knight is the son of Chris and Laura Knight and plans to study animal science and veterinary medicine at DePauw.
Knight on narrowing his decision from two schools to one: “DePauw honestly wasn’t my first choice coming into the college search. After visiting a few schools, I narrowed it down to DePauw and Albion. I kinda wanted to stay in state, and Albion is in Michigan. Both schools were awesome, and I just felt more at home in the DePauw setting.”
Harrison Mevis, football, University of Missouri
Mevis continues the family lineage of kicking, becoming the second son from the Mevis household to make a Division 1 kicking commitment. Following in the footsteps of Andrew Mevis’ route to Fordham after being an Under Armour All-American for the Tigers, Harrison committed to Missouri this fall and was also named an Under Armour All-American in the process. Ranked as one of the top kickers in the country by Kohls Kicking, Mevis was named the 2019 Mr. Football in Indiana for kicker and is a two-time All-State and All-Northern Lakes Conference selection. In 2019, Mevis was 54-54 in extra points, was 6-11 in field goals and sent 55 of 67 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. Mevis also punted 15 times for 502 yards, a 33.5 yard average. Mevis was also chosen as an All-NLC goalkeeper as a junior and senior for the Tiger soccer program.
Harrison, the son of Tracy and Tina Mevis, has not declared a major at Missouri. At Warsaw, he carries a 3.8 GPA.
Mevis on the idea of SEC football on the regular: “I have thought about it, multiple times a day. I would love to be there right now. But you also go to school for an education, and that’s also a big draw for me to Missouri. You get that diploma, go onto bigger things. I think Missouri can help me in that way, as well.”
Isaiah Owens, wrestling, Cornell College
Owens has helped a revival of Warsaw wrestling and will take his passion on the mat to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and work with Cornell. Owens was a semi-state qualifier at 106 pounds as a sophomore and now competes at 132 pounds for the upstart Tigers, which opened this season with three straight wins in the Northern Lakes Conference, including a dual over highly-ranked Wawasee.
The son of Andy and Jennifer Owens, Isaiah carries a 3.0 GPA. He has not declared a major for Cornell, but likely will get into a computer-based field.
Owens on picking a school in Iowa: “After my sophomore year getting to semi-state, I remember (Warsaw head coach Kris) Hueber finding me in the hall and handing me a letter from them. I checked them out and over the summer, I did a visit and they really piqued my interest. I really like the program they have in place and the college is really nice.”
Kaylee Patton, basketball, Grace College
Patton is working her way back to star status after a knee injury derailed her junior season. Patton is posting eight points, four assists and three rebounds per night as a senior, and totaled per-game averages of nine points as a junior and 10 points as a sophomore. Patton has been an All-Northern Lakes Conference performer and also played soccer for three seasons as a standout goalkeeper.
The daughter of Joe and Aynsley Patton, Kaylee is a member of the National Honor Society and carries a 4.20 GPA. At Grace, Patton plans to major in biology and kinesiology.
Patton on choosing Grace’s uptempo style: “This was such an easy decision. I went to a couple practices and watched how Dan (Davis, Grace head coach) ran practice and how much energy he had. That was all I needed to see. Honestly, it looked so fun. Their style of play works for me.”
Delaney Taylor, soccer, Marian University
Taylor has earned a chance to catch on at Marian despite missing her entire senior season to a knee injury. Taylor was on quite a trajectory her first three years at Warsaw, which included the single season and career assists records (17/40). Taylor also scored 19 goals as a junior and 39 in three years of varsity play. Along the way, Taylor was awarded All-Northern Lakes Conference and Second Team All-State awards.
Her classroom work is just as impressive, where Taylor holds a 4.31 GPA and is on the All A Honor Roll. The daughter of Jason and Amanda Taylor, Delaney is a member of the National Honor Society, Octagon Club, Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She plans to major in biology at Marian.
Taylor on making an impact despite missing her senior year to injuries: “I actually committed to Marian my junior year. I have been on a travel team in Indy and also in Fort Wayne, so I was constantly in Indianapolis playing in tournaments. Marian has a coach who helps out with our travel team so I got close with him. I got hurt in May, and I called them right after it happened and they said it didn’t change their decision. They were very confident in my ability and encouraged me to get back to where I was before I got hurt.”