5/22/2018 Six TMI Episcopal seniors committed to college athletics during a signing ceremony, held May 17 in the school’s Alkek Refectory. The graduating Panthers will play a variety of sports at schools across divisions of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Ethan Austin, who was captain of TMI’s lacrosse team during his senior year, will play lacrosse for Hendrix College, a Division III school in Conway, Ark. While at TMI, Austin was named to Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) honor teams, making the all-state first team, attack, this year; and the all-district first team as a sophomore. As a longtime leader, “He made the team better on and off the field,” said TMI Head Lacrosse Coach Blake Skinner.
Dawson Dullnig, a starting pitcher for the Panthers during his senior year, will play baseball for Vassar College, a Division III school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Named to the TAPPS first all-district team as a junior, Dullnig is a “wildly talented baseball player (who) brought a lot of energy to the team,” said TMI Head Baseball Coach Patrick Davis.
Haddie Hill, who won district in singles or doubles for three years at TMI, will play tennis at Goucher College, a Division III school in Towson, Md. During her high-school career, Hill qualified for state three years in a row and made it to the TAPPS state semifinals last year. She served as captain of the TMI varsity tennis team and earned Academic All-State (for outstanding athletes with a GPA of 90 or above). “With her never-quit attitude, she has the persistence to reach her full potential at any level,” said TMI Assistant Tennis Coach Luis Murillo.
Ana Ross, TAPPS cross-country state champion in 2017, was a 12-time medalist in cross-country and track combined. She will run at the Division I level for the University of Texas at Austin, where she also was accepted to the Plan II and Polymathic Scholars honors program. (Ross was unable to attend the signing ceremony because of a prior commitment at UT.)
Keith Rupe, who qualified for state in hurdles last year, will run for Southwestern University, a Division III school in Georgetown. At TMI, he also played on the 2017 state champion soccer team, made All-State and Academic All-State in soccer during his senior year and is the recipient of a 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl Scholarship for student athletes. As a soccer player, “He’s a hard worker — wherever I needed him to be, he was there,” said Murillo, who is also assistant coach of the boys varsity soccer team.
Brooke Smithson, captain of the girls varsity soccer team during her senior year, will play soccer for Centre College, a Division III school in Danville, Ky. At TMI, she was named to the TAPPS All-District first team three years in a row and made All-State honor teams in her sophomore and junior years. She also set a school record of 109 career goals scored and qualified for state and regional tournaments in several track and field events, setting school records in the long jump, triple jump, 100 meter and 4×100 relay. Smithson “was the best player on the team from her freshman year,” said Murillo. “She’s a phenomenal scorer who always gives 120 percent and learned how to support and lead the other players on the team.”
With their commitment to college play, the six TMI students join an elite group of student athletes. According to NCAA figures, only two percent of high-school athletes are selected to go on to play at the next level.