National signing day 2017

Brianna Horland, Editor-in-Chief & Entertainment Editor

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February 1, 2017 was the day that many athletes–and their parents–had long dreamed of as they hit the Little League fields of their youth, strapped on their first football helmet or dove into the cold waters of the local pool. Each year, National Signing Day takes place as the first day that high school seniors may sign a binding National Letter of Intent to become an athlete at a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) school.

This year, South Plantation had two seniors–Taylen Waller and Logan Downey–signing their letters in the school’s media center, which had been transformed into a place of celebration with family and friends, signs, balloons and cake.

Robert Horland
Taylen Waller with his family at signing day.

Waller, who was awarded a full-ride to play football at Southeastern Missouri State University, is a double threat athlete, playing both football and baseball. As a youngster, he tore up the Plantation Athletic League fields as the fastest flag football quarterback in the league. “In my 16 years in PAL, Taylen was one of the finest all-around athletes that I had the privilege of coaching,” said Robert Horland, former PAL administrator and coach. Horland, who was invited to attend Waller’s signing, was thrilled by his college offer, adding: “In addition to being a great athlete, Taylen is a terrific young man with wonderful parents; I am so happy for all of them.”

Like Waller, Downey started his athletic career right here in Plantation, at the city’s Central Park pool. The 1-meter diving state champion (Class 4-A) for four consecutive years, Downey is only the fifth diver–and third boy–to do so in Florida history. Downey has chosen to stay close to home, joining the Swimming and Diving team at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Logan Downey with his family at signing day.

The Owls are a burgeoning team, recently setting 18 lifetime bests at the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association Championships on February 17. Adding a state diving champion to their roster will surely mark them as a force to be reckoned with next year.

South Plantation takes much pride in both athletes and Waller and Downey will have many hometown fans cheering for them as they embark on their collegiate careers.