So far, half of Marietta High's eight seniors on the boys' soccer team are planning to play on the collegiate pitch next school year.
On Tuesday, Tanner Rake, Brent Huck, Eric Pierce and Brennan Uhrig each announced their college choice in a commitment ceremony in Sutton gymnasium on the campus of MHS.
Uhrig was unable to attend due to a "fender bender."
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
(Left to right) Marietta High’s Brent Huck, Tanner Rake, and Eric Pierce will all be continuing their education in college and playing soccer next school year. Huck and Pierce will be attending?Marietta College, while Rake is going to Davis & Elkins in W.Va.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Tanner Rake will be continuing his education and playing soccer at Davis & Elkins in W.Va. Sitting down, left to right, are Katlin Rake (sister), John Rake (father), Tanner Rake, Nikki Rake (mother), and Taylor Rake (sister). In the back row, l to r, are MHS athletic director Rick Guimond and Marietta boys soccer coach Todd Morris.
"They're pretty special," said Marietta boys coach Todd Morris. "That says a lot about the talent this senior class had.
"No question, they're one of the better senior classes I've had."
Of the four, Rake will be the only one competing at the NCAA Division II level and outside the Buckeye State in West Virginia. Huck, Uhrig, and Pierce will be continuing their education and playing D3 soccer in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
This foursome was very instrumental in helping the Todd Morris-coached Tigers compile a sterling 14-3-3 overall record and a berth in the district final last fall. In 2012, they were 11-4-3; in 2011, 11-4-2; and in 2010, 17-2-2.
Rake, Huck, Uhrig, and Pierce all capped their season season as defenders. At one time in their prep careers, Huck and Uhrig were goal-scorers.
Rake is headed to Davis & Elkins (D&E) College in the Mountaineer State, in Elkins, W.Va. There, he's planning to major in exercise science and sports management
"They recruited me, and contacted me several times," Rake said. "I had a good visit when I went there. It's a beautiful campus. Plus, they have a winning program."
The Aron Bassoff-coached Senators compete in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC). Last season, they were 12-4-2 overall and 8-1 in the G-MAC. During this spring, they were 4-0-2.
A solid defender, Rake is also very capable of putting the ball into the back of the net, scoring two goals and assisting on another in his junior year.
During his prep career, Rake was both an all-district and all-conference (East Central Ohio League) performer.
"Tanner is a very versatile player," Morris said. "I could put him anywhere on the field.
Huck and Pierce each will be attending Marietta College. They will be reunited with former Tiger teammate and senior-to-be Pioneer Wes Riley, a third-team All-Ohio honoree last season. On last year's MC squad also was ex-Tiger Chris Stollar, a senior goalkeeper.
In 2013, Marietta College was 4-13-1 overall and 1-7-1 in the OAC. The Pioneer booters are coached by second-year boss Joe Bergin.
Huck is planning to major in petroleum engineering
"I like their petroleum engineering program," Huck said. "And, their soccer program is up and coming."
In Marietta High's storied soccer program history, Huck, a starter since his freshman year and a versatile player, is just one of three Tigers to be named an All-Ohio (second team) honoree. During that fall of 2012, he scored nine goals and had three assists.
Going into his senior season, he had a career 23 goals and eight assists.
Huck, a two-year co-captain and playmaker, had mono at the beginning of the 2013 campaign but returned about midway to help shore up the Tiger defense. He finished as a first team D2 all-district honoree.
"Brent is such a hard worker, and he's very passionate about the game," Morris said. "He's a leader, and in college, he'll just work to get better."
During his prep athletic career, Huck was also a letterwinner as a place kicker on the Marietta High football squad.
With Stollar graduating, Pierce is hoping to get a crack at the starting job between the pipes. He is expected to be one of the goalie candidates.
At MC, Pierce is also planning to major in petroleum engineering.
"That's pretty much why I'm going to Marietta College," Pierce said. "That, and to play soccer."
During his prep career, Pierce was also an all-district and all-leagure performer. In his junior season, he was credited with 113 saves and six clean sheets.
"Eric is very fundamentally sound," Morris said. "The goalkeeper position is a specialty position, and he continues to work at his craft. He'll need to bulk up for college play."
Uhrig will be headed to Columbus in central Ohio, where he will be attending Capital University. He is expected to play under fourth-year Crusaders' head coach Alan Yost.
Last season, Cap, a member of the OAC, was 9-8-3 and 5-4. The Crusaders blanked the Pioneers 4-0 in their only meeting.
An MHS two-year co-cap and versatile soccer player, Uhrig made the transition from offense to defense effortlessly in his senior season. In his senior year, he scored five goal and assisted on another.
Uhrig was also and all-district and all-league performer.
"Brennan is a student of the game," Morris said. "He has the skills to translate well to the college game."