Lancaster, Holt sign with soccer scholarship with Ouachita Baptist University

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 27, 2007 - Jon Holt and Cole Lancaster are best friends. They played soccer together at Sulphur Springs, helping the Wildcats to the best season in school history in 2006, and they will continue their friendship in college.

Holt and Lancaster, who graduated from SSHS in May, each signed a scholarship offer on Wednesday to play soccer at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Ouachita is an NCAA Div. II university that is affiliated with the Gulf South Conference.

They were both First Team All-District players for the Wildcats as seniors, and after mulling over offers from other colleges, decided on Ouachita.

"At first, Cole went up there, and then the coach came and watched one of our games and asked me to come visit," said Holt. "So, we both went there and visited the second time."

Lancaster said the proximity and the atmosphere seemed like a good fit for the duo.

"It's only about 2 1/2 hours away, and it's really a nice school," Lancaster explained. "When we went and visited, it seemed like it was the place for me to go. I looked at some other colleges, but OBU really was the best."

Lancaster, the son of Jerry and Cindy Lancaster, decided on OBU after visiting LeTourneau and East Texas Baptist. He got noticed by leading the Wildcats in scoring this year with 18 goals. During the Wildcats' playoff run to the regional final in 2006, Lancaster had the memorable deciding sudden death shootout goal in their area round victory over Whitehouse. He also scored the team's first goal in their regional final match-up with Mount Pleasant that year.

He was a Second Team All-District midfielder as a junior and a First Team forward his senior season. It was as an 11th-grader that he felt he could earn a college scholarship.

"Probably, it entered my head my junior year when we did so well," Lancaster said. "I thought then that I wanted to go be a collegiate athlete. I thought I could do that, and worked for it."

Both he and Holt plan on majoring in kinesiology and being soccer coaches.

Holt will likely play stopper, a defensive midfield position, in college after seeing action all over the field as a two-year starter for the Wildcats. He played sweeper, stopper, left back, midfielder and shootout goalie for his brother, head coach Andy Holt. Jon was a Second Team All-District midfielder as a junior and First Team defender as a senior.

"I've always wanted to play college soccer," Holt said. "Since my freshman year, I tried to take it to the next level every year. I've been trying to work toward it since I started high school.

Coach Holt, a college player himself, has seen his share of players move on to the collegiate level.

"The soccer program has done well the past few years, and it's exciting to see those guys go off and have success," he said. "It's good for the younger guys to see that their hard work could pay off with a scholarship. It's something they can shoot for.

"Year-in and year-out, we have several college coaches that contact us to see who might fit in their program. Making those connections can pay off for these kids and this program."

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