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Four Yellowjackets ink college commitments on National Signing Day

Perham's Mya Morris, Gamble Bye, Lauryn Rustad and Natalie Rooney sign their National Letters of Intent at Perham High School last Wednesday.

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Perham's Mya Morris, left, Gamble Bye, left-middle, Lauryn Rustad, right middle, and Natalie Rooney sign their National Letters of Intent at Perham High School on Nov. 9. 2022.
Contributed / Perham-Dent Public Schools
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PERHAM – Four more Yellowjackets signed national letters of intent last Wednesday afternoon.

Maya Morris, Gamble Bye, Lauryn Rustad and Natalie Rooney all inked commitments to continue their education and athletic careers at the collegiate level. The media room at Perham High School was packed with friends and family to congratulate the four student-athletes on their big decisions.

Natalie Rooney

Natalie Rooney put pen to paper to continue her track and field career at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and St. Thomas University also had an interest in the Perham pole vaulter Rooney, but she fell in love with Mankato.

“I chose Mankato because of the track program, coaches and the facilities,” she said. “When I toured there, all of that stood out to me, unlike the other ones. Everyone was super nice, and the facilities were great. Their program is just really good.”

Rooney never dreamt of seeing herself as a college athlete. Wednesday’s signing meant a lot to her.

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Perham's Lauryn Rustad, left, and Natalie Rooney sign their National Letters of Intent at Perham High School on Nov. 9. 2022.
Nick Leonardelli / Perham Focus

“It was a big decision that I never thought I would have to make,” Rooney said. “I never thought I would be a college athlete, nonetheless a pole vaulter. To have the whole college experience and to play sports as well, it’s a big task to ask. I am excited to work hard, do my best, get better and have fun doing pole vault.”

Rooney rambled off a multitude of supporters that helped her in her big decision.

“My track coaches, (Ryan Beachy) and (Mike Peterson), were big supporters,” she said. “Also, any of the coaches throughout my career, my gymnastic coaches, tennis coaches and volleyball coaches. Can’t forget about my family and friends.”

Gamble Bye

Gamble Bye is headed to St. Cloud University to play baseball. He drew interest from many of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference teams and the University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University.

“It means a lot,” Bye said. “All the work put in over the years and the relationships I’ve made–It’s truly been a blessing.”

One of his most significant reasons for choosing SCSU was the facilities and the team itself.

“When I toured there, I saw the facilities there, and they were great,” he said. “I fell in love immediately. They’re a winning program, and I’m excited to play.”

Bye was quick to answer who his biggest supporter was in making his decision.

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“Definitely my dad,” he said. “We have been through a lot together. We put in a lot of work and had a lot of early mornings. That’s what it is all about.”

Mya Morris

Maya Morris signed on to play women’s basketball at Valley City State University. Some other schools interested were the College of St. Benedict, the University of Jamestown and Bethany Lutheran College.

Morris was all smiles on Wednesday.

“The decision was done. It feels really good,” she said.

Morris chose VCSU because of its team-centered atmosphere.

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Perham's Mya Morris, left, and Gamble Bye sign their National Letters of Intent at Perham High School on Nov. 9. 2022.
Jared Rubado / Perham Focus

“It felt like a family environment,” she said. “The two coaches seemed very supportive when I talked to them. It is a small town, just like Perham. That’s what I like about it. It reminds me of home.”

Morris missed all of the 2021 season with a torn ACL. During hard times, he leaned on her family to help her through a big decision.

“I talked through things with my mom,” Morris said. “She supported me and thought it would be the best fit for me."

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A full feature on Morris’ return to basketball after a knee injury will be in a future edition of the Perham Focus.

Lauryn Rustad

Coming off an impressive track and field spring, Lauryn Rustad is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2023. Rustad saw interest from schools like Concordia College-Moorhead, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Hamline University.

For Rustad, Wednesday was a reward for all of her hard work after missing significant time due to injuries.

“For me, it means that I am proud of all the work I put in and all the time my coaches and family have put into me,” she said. “I am just thankful for where God got me today.”

She chose the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire because of the beautiful campus and the coaches.

“I loved the campus, and the coach was phenomenal,” Rustad said. “I really clicked there, and I told myself, ‘This is where I want to be.’ I loved the outdoor aspect of campus. It felt like home, but it’s not.”

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