Feb 16, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorRiverton's all-state senior midfielder has committed to playing soccer at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
On Wednesday at high noon, Reed Axthelm approached and sat down at a table in Wolverine Gym which was adorned with his team colors while decked out in them himself.
Not red, but blue.
The Wolverines' senior midfielder put pen to paper, while flanked by his parents and coach as teammates looked on while he signed a national letter of intent to play soccer next season at Kansas City Kansas Community College.
For Axthelm, it was a moment he's been working toward and waiting for his entire life, he said.
"It doesn't even seem like it's actually happening," said Axthelm. "Ever since I was a little kid, it's been a dream of mine to play college soccer."
No small accomplishment for an athlete in a sport which requires a tremendous fitness level and amount of commitment, which Axthelm has and is now ready to take to the next level.
"It's definitely going to be a different environment," said Axthelm, as he trades the wide-open spaces of his hometown for the bustling big city where the ball be bouncing for him next season. "But, I really like it there and they gave me a good opportunity."
According to Wolverines head coach Aziz Waheed, the Blue Devils are getting the complete package in the attacking midfielder.
"Reed is one of the most technically-talented players I've ever coached," said Waheed. "He's always one step ahead of everyone on the field -- he gets the ball and knows exactly what to do with it."
Of course, a superior skill level requires honing of natural ability and Axthelm isn't lacking in either department when it comes to desire and work ethic year-round, said Waheed.
"His excellent footwork is because of all his work in the offseason," he said. "Reed always has a ball at his feet."
However, as with any athlete moving up to the next level, Axthelm will still have to kick it up another notch to compete on the collegiate pitch, although he has no concerns his player isn't up to the task, said Waheed.
"There's always the added strength factor," he said. "Also, the speed of the game and the stamina required to maintain and make quicker decisions, but Reed has a hunger and desire to win."
But, before Axthelm trades red for blue permanently, he and his Wolverines teammates have some unfinished business to handle after advancing all the way to the Class 4-A state championship game against Laramie last season, only to lose, 1-0.
"Getting to the championship game last season is the best memory of my high school career so far," said Axthelm. "We're definitely hungry to get back and make a run."
As for all the support he's been the beneficiary of to this point in his journey, Axthelm is grateful, he said.
"I'm glad I could be here with my family, friends and teammates," said Axthelm. "God has blessed me with the opportunity to play."
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.