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Tue, May 21

Chino Valley athletes ink commitment letters to play in college
Prep Sports

Chino Valley’s Michael Paulus Jr., right, and Angelina Kirkpatrick sign their letters of intent during Signing Day on Monday, May 13, at Chino Valley High School to continue their athletic careers at Dakota State University and North Central College, respectively. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

Chino Valley’s Michael Paulus Jr., right, and Angelina Kirkpatrick sign their letters of intent during Signing Day on Monday, May 13, at Chino Valley High School to continue their athletic careers at Dakota State University and North Central College, respectively. (Aaron Valdez/Courier)

CHINO VALLEY — Chino Valley’s Michael Paulus Jr. and Angelina Kirkpatrick singed their letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.

Family, friends and school members gathered at Chino Valley High School’s cafeteria on Monday afternoon to support the standout athletes at their highly-anticipated signing day. Paulus Jr. committed to Dakota State University for football while Kirkpatrick committed to North Central College for softball and wrestling.

“I’m very excited,” Paulus Jr. said. “I can’t wait to go to the next level and start playing with some of the older guys, learn some new things, and be a leader even though I’m the young one going in. I’m just very excited to have this opportunity to play at the next level.”

The 5-foot-7 Paulus Jr. is a versatile player and excels on both sides of the ball, which ultimately landed him a starting role as slot receiver and defensive back during his freshman year. In his sophomore campaign, he made the switch to running back and also got to play some quarterback while also receiving a second-team recognition for linebacker.

It wasn’t until his junior year where he found his home at full-time running back after playing quarterback for half the season. He went on to rack up the most yards in the 3A West Division and was named to the first team while only being two votes shy of winning 3A West Player of the Year.

“Michael is a great player. He’s just been doing so well over the last four years for us,” said Chino Valley Football coach Wade Krug. “For him to be able to receive this accomplishment and be able to go on to the next level and play at Dakota State is a great thing for him and a great thing for our program.”

Paulus Jr. also didn’t forget to thank his biggest supporters and detailed how much they’ve helped him to succeed throughout this process.

“I’d like to thank my family, the coaches for just giving me the opportunity to just play and be on the field and this college for giving me the opportunity to come play at their place.”

The multitalented Kirkpatrick had herself a very accomplished high school career in not just one, but two sports. Her skills on the softball field and on the wrestling mat easily earned her the opportunity to compete at North Central in Illinois.

“I’m very excited. This is letting me go to the next moment of my life and achieve the goals that I want to follow through with, so it’s pretty exciting,” Kirkpatrick said”

As a softball player, the stalwart catcher played on varsity since her junior year where she recorded 16 RBIs and one home run. In her senior year, she bumped those numbers way up where she posted a team-leading 33 RBIs and six home runs for .347 batting percentage. Her effort earned her an All-Region Second Team recognition.

“It’s absolutely an honor to know that one of the girls has put in the time, the effort, the work, and she’s taking it to the next level. It shows that our program is exceling and going in the right direction,” said Chino Valley softball coach Matt Dunn.

Interestingly enough, it was her newfound passion for wrestling that initially opened the door for her at North Central.

“I actually reached out to the wrestling coach because this was my first year wrestling here at the high school and I fell in love with it during the season and so I reached out with their coach and then he suggested I also talk to the softball coach,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick was also very appreciative of her parents, coaches and everyone else who helped put her in the position to succeed.

Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email avaldez@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.

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