HELENA — Kylie Hartnett, Odessa Zentz, and Carly Ryan all signed division one letters of intent to open the NCAA early signing period on Wednesday.
Wednesday's signing marks the second time in as many years that three teammates at a Helena-area high school signed NCAA Division 1 letters of intent to three different schools.
Hartnett will head to the University of Utah, Zentz to Northern Arizona University, and Ryan to the University of Montana, and their head coach Jesse Zentz couldn't be prouder of all three.
“I just think it's really amazing that we have three kids committing to [division one] schools and signing with them," said Zentz. "These guys have set the bar now, and they've shown what you can accomplish in this program.”
For Ryan, a softball player that converted to track and cross country mid-way through her high school career said it was a bit of a fluke that she joined the two squads, and part of the reason she is at this point is thanks to those who pushed her day in and day out.
“The main thing that has helped me achieve really anything in my running career is such amazing coaches and amazing teammates. Like, I definitely would not have taken near the interest that I have in running if it weren't for these guys," said Zentz. "They really know what they're doing and they know how to create athletes and it was an awesome experience.”
Ryan said she plans on studying environmental science and hopes to go to law school following her undergraduate career.
Zentz, who has been a runner for as long as she can remember, said she’s looking forward to competing at the next level but noted, she’s happy that she’s able to lock in her decision now so she can focus on finishing out her high school career on a high note.
“It's nice to be signed before the track season so that I can just relax and have a fun track season and we're gonna have a really good team and I'm also really wanting to get a team trophy again, because that's the best part.”
Zentz said she plans on studying political science or psychology.
Hartnett, a state champion runner during her sophomore year and Montana Gatorade Player of the Year in 2020, said her goal for her collegiate career is to simply get better.
“My goal is to just keep getting better and kind of have fun. I know my coach already is planning stuff for me and he already knows that and believes in me," said Hartnett. "I'm just excited to go to a program where they believe that I still can do better and just like keep improving throughout my college career.”
Hartnett says she plans on studying kinesiology.