The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX


March 25, 2014

Three Alpha Omega Academy student-athletes sign to play college ball

HUNTSVILLE — Signing Day was more of a family affair for a trio of Alpha Omega seniors Monday afternoon.

As happy as they were for themselves, Matthew Box, Marco Pardo and Annie Smith were also there to root on each other as they signed commitment letters to play football and softball at their respective colleges.

Box is headed to Buena Vista University in the western part of Iowa. Buena Vista head coach Larry Anderson, who also has a daughter living in the Houston area, maximized a trip to Texas to finally meet Box in person and witness the ceremony. The coach said Box appears to be a coachable young player who should fit right in with the Beavers.

Smith will play softball at Williams Baptist College in Arkansas, while Pardo is headed to play football at Texas Lutheran.

Pardo said he spent a lot of time looking for colleges and that Seguin really felt like home.

“It’s a town I’m really familiar with and I’ve been there several times,” Pardo said. “The coaches and staff really make you feel at home. I’m excited to be able to contribute to their team and be the player I’ve learned how to be by coming from Alpha Omega. So I’m excited to finally get to play at the next level.

Smith said  she wanted to attend a Christian college after spending all of her prior school days at Alpha Omega. Smith and her family narrowed down a wide search to three schools in Arkansas and and she said Williams Baptist was the one she felt the calling to go to.

“I just want to further my abilities and meet new people,” Smith said. “It’s a dream come true for me because I’ve been wanting to play in college my whole life. To be able to do it alongside two of my best friends, I don’t have words for it.”

Going to Buena Vista was sort of a change of course for Box, who had originally planned to attend Wayne State College in Nebraska.

While he was waiting for a returned phone call from the Wayne State coaching staff, Lions head coach Jeff Norris told Box about a friend in Iowa who wanted to take a look at him.

It’s good thing the Beavers were interested.

“Eventually I was on the team, had been accepted and got a scholarship,” Box said. “I checked back with Wayne State to see if I could play and the first email I got from them in about three months said the roster was full and it was too late.

“So after that, I was Buena Vista all the way.”

Box, who could play either defensive end or linebacker in college, said he’s most looking forward to the opportunity to strengthen himself and teammates.

Norris raved about the three senior while introducing them at the Alpha Omega gym.

The Lions are going to miss these seniors. Groups of students were allowed to observe the ceremony and take photos with their friends who are moving on to a new phase in life.

“Growing up with all of them, being a small school, we’re almost like family,” Pardo said of his classmates. “Having them be a big part of my path to here and being able to enjoy this good time with me is pretty special. I think that’s probably the coolest part, getting to share this experience with good friends of mine who have helped me get to this point.”

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