It was fitting that Austin Arians and Steffen Lake opted for a dual ceremony Friday morning to sign their National Letters of Intent to compete in college next year.

The Madison Edgewood High School seniors are not only classmates but long-time friends, too.

"It's awesome. Steffen and I are good friends so it's fun to be able to sign together," Arians said during an early-morning ceremony at Edgewood High School.

Added Lake: "It's great to be here with Austin and to have some of our friends be able to share this with us, too."

First, Lake signed his NLI to attend Creighton University to play golf.

"My final two choices were Harvard and Creighton and when I visited Creighton I had a great time, said Lake, who was a member of the Crusaders WIAA Division 2 state champions his freshman and sophomore seasons and state runner-up squad last spring. "I really enjoyed the coach and all the players. It seemed like a great fit for me, academically and athletically."

The City Player of the Year as a junior, Lake said his older sister, Alex, a four-time state champion who is competing in golf at Xavier University, played a key role in his decision.

"It is a bit of a confusing process and there is a lot going on in a short time," said Lake, who is planning to study pre-medicine. "It was nice to have her to ask questions about it. She really helped me out a lot."

Then it was Arians' turn to sign his NLI to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to play basketball.

"It feels good. It's a relief," said Arians, who had verbally committed in August after receiving offers from a number of Division I schools that included Montana and Texas Pan American. "It's a weight off my shoulders and now I can focus on basketball and Edgewood."

The 6-foot-6 Arians, who averaged a team-best 15.2 points per game for the 15-8 Crusaders last season, said he plans to pursue a business degree.

"I visited Milwaukee twice over the summer and I liked the coaches and I know some of the players from AAU," Arians said. "It felt like a good fit for me."

Gaugert inks links NLI with Marquette

One hour before taking the football field for his team's final practice before its WIAA Division 2 state semifinal football game with Menomonie, Waunakee senior Zach Gaugert took time to sign his NLI with Marquette to play golf for the Division I Golden Eagles.

"It's been hectic," Gaugert, a wide receiver in football, said of a week that will culminate Saturday at 6 p.m. with the Warriors' game against Menomonie at UW-Stevens Point. "Signing today, I've been looking forward to this all week. Football preparation, too, it's been busy, but it's been a blast."

Verona foursome signs volleyball NLIs

Fresh off their school's first appearance in the WIAA state girls volleyball tournament, Verona seniors Grace Anbouba, Lauren O'Brien, Rachel Burke and Jillian Bauer were expected to sign their NLIs in an early evening cermony Friday at Verona Area High School.

Anbouba will attend Jacksonville (Ala.) State; O'Brien will attend Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill.; Burke will attend St. Cloud (Minn.) State and Bauer will attend Ohio State University.

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