Initially, Ryan Haebe was all about basketball.
With a father, Scott, serving as Evergreen’s varsity boys coach, it’s easy to understand why Haebe’s first focus would be on hoops.
And, to that end, Haebe has fared well for himself on the hardcourt; he’s the Cougars’ starting point guard this season.
But, when Haebe graduates in a few months and then dashes off to college, his basketball career will come to an end.
His athletic career, though, will only be just beginning.
On National Signing Day, Haebe, along with three other Evergreen student-athletes, singed a National Letter of Intent. He’ll attend Western State and run cross-country.
“The past two years I’ve taken running more seriously and since then, I thought running in college was a possibility,” said Haebe, who finished seventh at the 2008 Class 4A state cross-country meet.
Before signing on the dotted line with Western, Haebe was also considering Adams State, but in the end, Western’s location (Gunnison), won out.
“I really like it out there,” Haebe said. “The town is really nice and I just liked the team and coaches a lot when I went to visit.”
For now, Haebe’s main focus is on the basketball court, where the Cougars have been inconsistent at times - but when they play their game, can run with anyone in the state.
“Our biggest loss is by 10 points,” Haebe said. “We’ve lost a lot of close games. Our biggest thing is just trying to learn how to close out games. If we can do that, we’ll be fine.”
While Haebe will be staying close to home, Cory Evans will be making a trip across the country to play college football - but he won’t be alone.
With family residing in South Carolina, Evans, who led Evergreen in tackles this past season, will still enjoy some comforts of home when he attends North Greenville.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play college football,” Evans said. “I’m pretty excited to be able to do it.”
Not only Evans, but fellow signees Drake Brown (Adams State) and Greg Hoffman (Colorado School of Mines), each have put in plenty of work in the off-seasons over the years preparing themselves for an opportunity to play at the next level.
“It’s six-days-a-week,” Evans said. “We work year-round. It’s hard, but it’s worth it in the end.”
Hoffman, who’s slated to play outside linebacker at Mines, says that while the Cougars might’ve struggled in the win-loss column, the fact that three players from the team are moving on to play in college says a lot about the dedication of the players.
“It shows that regardless of where you grow up or who you play for, that you can play with anyone,” Hoffman said. “I think we’re all excited about the opportunities we have.”
Brown, who was second on the team in rushing and tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns, was relieved to have the recruiting process over.
“It was a long process,” Brown said. “Adams State gave me an opportunity, and I’m really proud to be going there. They are changing the program around and have new facilities; everything just seemed right.”
Ryan Haebe, cross-country, Western State; Greg Hoffman, football, Colorado School of Mines; Drake Brown, football, Adams State; Cory Evans, football, North Greenville, South Carolina.