Jordan Laughlin and Christain Barnes of Waynesville have signed their letters of intent

WAYNESVILLE — Jordan Laughlin and Christian Barnes have signed their letters of intent to play their respective sports in college.

Laughlin signed to the University of Saint Mary in Kansas on Wednesday, March 19, to play basketball.

The former guard for Waynesville said the deciding factor for her to go to Saint Mary was the head coach.

“Bruce Erickson,” Laughlin said. “This summer he came to scout me during a summer ball tournament. The game he came to watch, I sprained my ankle and he ended up staying the whole day with me to visit. I think he's the most dedicated coach to a student than any other coach that was looking at me.”

Laughlin says she will major in nursing at her new school. It kind of runs in the family.

“My grandma was a nurse, my aunt was a nurse and I've always said I want to be a nurse,” Laughlin said. “I love kids so that's what I want to do, help with the babies and everything.”

The hardest part about leaving, other than her family of course, will be her coach here in Waynesville — Brittany Matlock.

“I'm going to miss coach [Brittany] Matlock,” Laughlin said. “I played a tournament for her in my eighth grade year and I have played with her every year since then. I can go and talk to her about anything and she's always been there for me.”

The other player taking a big step forward towards his future was Christian Barnes.

Barnes had his signing day at Waynesville on Thursday, March 27, and he will be playing football as a wide receiver for Wartburg College in Iowa.

The future Knight said he is relieved to finally sign.

“It feels good,” Barnes said. “I was really hoping I could sign with a college.”

It was actually a whirlwind experience for Barnes, and it was actually a coincidence that caused his new school to hear of him.

“They had another player they were recruiting who talked about me and they called me the next day,” Barnes said. “It happened pretty quick.”

There were many reasons that caused the former Tiger to sign with Wartburg, but familiarity was a big one.

“I know their offense because they run the same one we do,” Barnes said. “The campus is nice and the team has a family atmosphere so I like that a lot.”

Barnes will major in mechanical engineering and has unique plans for his future.

“I love working on all sorts of things,” Barnes said. “Hopefully I'll end up designing cars. I love cars. I've gone from wanting to work on cars to being the one who makes the parts and everything else.”