Way back when she was in middle school, Makayla Kelby got an inkling that she would be part of something special at Lee’s Summit West.
Kelby kept meeting and competing against athletic kids at Summit Lakes Middle School. While she didn’t envision getting an NCAA Division I scholarship back then, she was certain she saw many who could — and would.
“In my class, there are so many athletic people,” Kelby said. “I immediately knew this class would be really special for this school. We’ve shown it here with all the number of kids who have signed today.”
Turns out Kelby was right, and it also turns out that she would be one of those elite athletes. Kelby was one of a school-record 25 seniors to sign on Wednesday on National Signing Day.
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She also was one of nine Titans to sign with a D-I program.
Kelby, a three-time state discus champion and a state champion in the shot put, signed with the University of Washington.
Oklahoma and UCLA also made her final three, but Kelby said the beauty of the Seattle campus and the school’s highly regarded program in her chosen field of biomedical engineering made the Huskies her top choice.
“I actually talked with Oklahoma, but I saw myself more at Washington than Oklahoma,” Kelby said. “The biomedical engineering program is a lot better at Washington.”
The track program, of course, also played a role. Kelby believes she can become one of the top throwers in the country there.
Jason Schutz, the Huskies’ third-year throws coach, had a Pac-12 champion in the discus last season and several other Huskies set new personal bests.
“The coach competed in world championships and he’s competed in one or two Olympic trials, so he knows what it takes to get to that level,” Kelby said. “I believe he can help me get there, too.”
Kelby has a personal best of 163 feet, 9 inches in the discus, a Class 5 record she set in winning her third title during last year’s state meet. Her best mark in the shot put, 46-2 1/2 , came last April. She aims to improve on both marks while adding the hammer throw and weight throw to her repertoire.
“I’ve been working hard since freshman year,” Kelby said. “My goal is to be one of the top there is in the whole country in shot and disc, and if I can add in weight and hammer that would be a bonus.”
And an additional honor for a Lee’s Summit West athletics program that has seen more than its share of stud athletes head off to college.
“We’ve been very fortunate since day one,” Titans athletic director Jereme Hubbard said. “We have great facilities, great coaches, great kids coming through. When you have all those factors coming together, it makes for a great opportunity for everyone.”
Lee’s Summit West
Austin Alexander, baseball, University of Saint Mary
Makayla Brady, soccer Emporia State
Alex Brown, soccer, Coastal Carolina
Phillip Brooks, football, Kansas State
Mackenzie Brummett, gymnastics, Air Force Academy
Malachi Butler, football, Washburn
Cade Caldwell, baseball, Missouri Valley
Madison Cook, lacrosse, Rockhurst
Josh Davis, football, Missouri Western
Sammi Fulson, soccer, Maryville
Jackson Galloway, baseball, Cowley Community College
Mario Goodrich, football, Clemson
Taylor Gutierrez, lacrosse, Ottawa
Macy Heckadon, soccer, Northwest Missouri
Grace Heenan, soccer, Missouri State
Makayla Kelby, track and field, Washington
Katie Leach, soccer, Fort Hays
Max Liz, football, Missouri S&T
Makayla Martin soccer, Central Missouri
Makenzie McAtee, softball,Central Missouri
Kassidy Newsom, soccer, St. Louis
Hailey Paulson, soccer, Evangel
Kara Privitera, soccer, Iowa State
Mason Visconti, soccer, Clemson
Shannel Watkins, track and field, Park
Lee’s Summit North
Madison Baker, soccer, Avila
Miles Craddock, football, Iowa Western College
Elijah Farr, football, Missouri State
Noah Martin, football, Benedictine
Jordan Murray, football, Missouri State
Sarah Peters, soccer, Kansas
Samantha Simpson, cross country and track, Central Missouri
Kendall Thomas, football, Benedictine
Sean Tinner, football, Benedictine
TJ Kennedy, football, Western Illinois
Caden Perry, football, Air Force Academy
Evan Sanders, football, William Jewell