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Four Bozeman High athletes sign letters of intent to play at next level

Bozeman High Signing Day Track and Field 2023
Posted at 1:31 PM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 17:18:52-04

BOZEMAN — It was an exciting day for four Bozeman High athletes, as they signed their letters of intent to play at the next level.

The four schools were widely spread out, with the farthest being Princeton University for distance runner Weston Brown. He boasts a 4.1 GPA and is president of the DECA club. He is also the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year in Cross Country. You could say its the perfect fit.

“Ultimately what I felt, was that Princeton’s academics set them apart from the other schools I looked at, but they keep up the athletic part of the college decision as well," Brown said.

The Hawks program will be losing the best runner in the state as he transitions to the next level, but he knows they’ll continue to win as they're left in great hands.

“It’s such a strong program, and it will continue to be a strong program," Brown explained. "Casey [Jermyn] and Ellie [Hawthorne] have done such an amazing job with it. They’re incredible coaches, and I definitely wouldn’t be doing any of this without them.”

His teammate, KJ Popiel, will run at the University of Detroit Mercy. His selection process was quickly narrowed down, as his selection process involved a school that was up to his standard academically and athletically.

“It was kind of hard to find one that had an architecture program, but I did find one," Popiel explained. "And part of it was I did want a DI school which narrowed it down pretty fast, but I found one, and I’m happy with it.”

Clara Brown will throw javelin right down the road at Montana State Unversity. She is excited to play for her hometown team, and the one she grew up rooting for. Now, the fans will be cheering her on.

“I’ve been watching the Bobcats play volleyball, basketball, everything since I was little, so it’s really cool to be a Bobcat now and have kids watch me," Fox said.

And her teammate, Ellison Merkel, will run at Chapman University. Originally a soccer player, an injury led her to now run and give her an opportunity at the next level. She also wanted the warmth Orange County had to offer.

“During soccer season I tore my ACL, so I’m still in the recovery process of that actually, but I’m able to run now," Merkel said. "So, I was kind of just looking around and really wanted to go to California for school, and then the opportunity to run track provided itself.”

With just over a month left of the season, all four athletes want to finish their final stretch of high school track and field strong.