Ozark area athletes take part in national signing day


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Wednesday marked national letter of intent signing day for all sports other than football, and plenty of athletes across the Ozarks took part as high school seniors officially inked to their new schools.

Springfield Catholic had four athletes sign with all going to division one teams.

Swimmer Cassie Moses signed with NC State while volleyball player and reigning Big 8 East Conferenc player of the year Hallie Cook signed with UNC Greensboro.

Cook had 1,005 digs and 290 aces in her career with the Irish.

A pair of Catholic golfers chose to stay closer to home as Kyleigh Pfitzner signed with Missouri State where her sister Kayla plays and Reagan Zibilski signed with Arkansas.

Zibilski qualified fo rthe US Open in 2019 and won the class two individual and team championships last year.

This summer she also won a national junior golf event in Phoenix, Arizona.

“It means so much,” Zibilski said. “It’s been a work in progress for the last four or five years and to finally be able to sign these papers, it really means a lot. The coaches are the best. They have the best practice facilities in the country. We’re in the SEC and I always wanted to stay in the SEC. There’s something about Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas. There’s something special about it. It is, it’s bittersweet but we’re moving on to the next chapter in our lives. We’re all super happy and we’re all super grateful.”

Catholic was not alone with athletes signing, though.

Down in Branson, Pirate track and field standout Cali Essick signed her letter of intent with Mizzou.

Essick is one of the top long jumpers in the midwest.

At the age of 16, she jumped 19 feet and three inches marking the best in the country at that age group.

She also won a gold medal in the long jump last year in the AAU Junior Olympics.

At Branson, she also competed in the 100 and 200 meter dashes along with the triple jump.

Next year, she’ll take her jumping skills to Columbia to join the Tigers.

“I always wanted to be in the SEC, so I’m really excited to be in that,” Essick. “It’s really hard. Good competition, but I know I can do it. I’m excited. I really feel like they believe in me and can take me to the next level. I really connected with the track athletes and I just really like Mizzou because it’s in-state.”

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