Reds’ committed athletes


Many student-athletes here at Eaton High School hope to continue competing and demonstrating their talent and love for their sport at the collegiate level. While not every student-athlete gets the opportunity to do so, there are a select few that have put in countless hours on the court, mat, or field, demonstrated talent and grit, and have gotten them to where they are today. Dirk Duncan (22), Ryan Dirksen (22), Sydney Mills (22), Rylee and Walker Martin (23), Ben Richter (22), Tate Smith (23), Megan St. Jean (22), and Jaden Stone (22) all plan on furthering their academic and athletic career at colleges around the country. 


Rylee Martin (23) plans to attend South Dakota State University to further her athletic and academic career. She committed to SDSU because of the school’s amazing culture. “It reminds me so much of Eaton and it felt like home right when I stepped on campus,” said Martin. Martin will play volleyball at SDSU and plans to study either early childhood education or exercise science. She loves volleyball and decided to play at a collegiate level because “volleyball is my safe space and it allows me to express my competitive nature and I love to compete with amazing athletes.” 


Ryan Dirksen (22) is planning to attend Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado. He loves the outdoors and the programs the school provides and will continue his academic and wrestling career there. While Dirksen plays football and wrestles here at EHS, he chose to wrestle in college because “I’m good at wrestling and want to be the toughest version of myself I can be; wrestling is one of the most demanding sports in college.” During his time at Western, Dirksen plans to study business and major in finance and marketing. 


Tate Smith (23) is planning to attend Oklahoma State University to continue his academic and baseball career. Baseball has always been something Smith has enjoyed, “baseball has always been my favorite sport. It has provided an escape for me no matter what is happening in my life” so committing to play baseball in college was an obvious choice. Picking the right school is a big decision in a student athlete’s life and Smith chose OSU because of the relationship he built with the coaching staff. “I felt like they could develop me the most and get me to where I want to be.” After meeting the coaches and seeing OSU’s facilities, Smith said choosing OSU “was an easy decision.” While furthering his baseball career in hopes of making it to the MLB, Smith will also study finance. 


Walker Martin (23) plans to attend University of Arkansas to further his academic and athletic career. Martin will be playing baseball at Arkansas and plans to study business. He chose Arkansas because it “checked off all the boxes.” “The relationship I built with the coaching staff was amazing,” said Martin. He’s always loved baseball and being on the diamond and is excited to continue at a collegiate level. “When I am playing baseball it clears my mind and brings me to a good place mentally,” said Martin. 


Jaden Stone (22) will be attending Hastings College in Nebraska to continue his academic and baseball career. Stone decided to commit there because the coach made him feel at home and the baseball program looks very promising. He said, “Base has been my life since the first time I picked up a ball. It has been a sport I can turn to even when times are rough. I chose to keep playing because the game has already done so much for me and when I got the opportunity, I jumped on it.” Stone is most excited to be able to play the sport he loves for the next four years. 


Ben Richter (22) committed to Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois to continue his academic and baseball career. He said, “The reason I decided to commit there was the atmosphere and I loved the coaching staff. It felt like home.” Richter also plans to study business as he dives into his secondary education, but he also is interested in marketing. He hopes to pursue a career in sports marketing. As he finishes his senior year, Richter said he “is most excited about traveling and meeting the new people that are in the program. It gives me a chance to show my talents at the next level. Another thing I am excited about is proving that even if you’re small, it can be possible by working hard. It’s amazing to represent my community and the town at the next level.”


Sydney Mills (22) committed to Oklahoma Panhandle State University to further her academic and volleyball career after graduation. The sport has taught Mills many important skills and attributes. Especially communication with teammates and opponents in a positive manner. She has also learned that “at the end of the day it all comes down to how much I love the sport and if I want to keep working. My hard work and dedication has paid off, and deciding to continue to play has me so excited,” she said. Mills looks forward to the new experience while also meeting new people. She plans on becoming a neonatal nurse. She said, “It’s going to be a challenge for me, but worth it in the long run. I’m so excited to start.”


Megan St. Jean (22) committed to West Chester University in Pennsylvania. She decided to commit to the university because of the course offerings, school culture, large student population, and of course, the opportunity to continue her volleyball career. Volleyball has been a major part of St. Jean’s life. She said, “Volleyball has brought me my closest friends and favorite memories. At my club I was able to learn a lot about who I am as a leader and my worth off of the court.” St. Jean decided to pursue her academic career as a committed athlete because the sport means so much to her. “I couldn’t imagine never lacing up again. The reason I am playing in college is to build those memories and continue doing the thing I love the most.” St. Jean plans to study pre-med biological sciences to eventually become a fetal surgeon. She hopes to lead  a new field of medicine to help women and children. 


Dirk Duncan (22) committed to Rockhurst University to further his academic and athletic career. Going to the university in Kansas City, Kansas, Duncan will be joining the baseball team while also studying business. After Duncan visited the school, he said “The moment I stepped on campus, I felt comfortable and I really connected with the coaching staff.” Baseball has been a major part of Duncan’s life and his passion for the game is very real. He said, “I love the outcome of every game. It is a team sport but it also comes down to how mentally and physically ready you are as an individual.”