Three more Webb City seniors sign college letters

Derek Shore, The Joplin Globe, Mo.
·3 min read

Apr. 7—WEBB CITY, Mo. — Two of Webb City's top girls basketball players and a Cardinal baseball standout will embark on a new journey as college athletes next fall.

Senior Jaydee Duda signed to play basketball at Crowder College, while Shane Noel inked to play for the Roughriders baseball program and Sierra Kimbrough signed to play basketball at Bethany College on Wednesday afternoon inside the Cardinal Dome.

"I really like how close it was to home and I really got along with the coaches," Duda said. "The whole atmosphere of the town itself was what I liked. It felt like home."

Noel is excited to go from one tradition-rich program at Webb City to another at Crowder. The No. 5 nationally-ranked Roughriders are 29-4 overall and have won their last 21 games.

"It feels great," Noel said. "A lot of weight lifted off my shoulders. I can just relax, go out there and just play. It feels really good to go to a program with a winning tradition."

Once she graduates in May, Kimbrough will move four hours from home to Lindsborg, Kansas, where Bethany College is located.

"It's huge," Kimbrough said. "It feels like a big stepping stone. I'm not done with basketball, but I'm done with this part and high school. I get to go play collegiately and get out of my comfort zone a little bit."

Noel is part of a deep senior class that has guided Flave Darnell's Cardinals to a 10-1 start. He becomes the sixth member of the team to sign to play college baseball.

Noel has been a Swiss-Army knife so far this spring for the Cardinals, seeing time on the mound while playing virtually every infield spot. He said renowned Crowder coach Travis Lallemand played a big factor in his decision.

"He really made an impact when we went there and the way he treated us," Noel said. "They really made it feel like I was at home. They were awesome to my family."

Noel strives to be just as versatile at the next level, too.

"I'll play whenever he puts me," Noel said. "I want to get on the field and I just want to get better everyday."

Duda and Kimbrough are coming off solid senior campaigns in which they helped Lance Robbins' Cardinals to a district runner-up appearance in 2020-21. Duda earned second-team All-COC honors, while Kimbrough was selected to the all-defensive team in the COC.

Duda's connection to Crowder formulated when she was a freshman as Robbins' sister Tina is the Roughriders' head coach.

"Getting to know her for four years made it a lot easier," Duda said. "I know I can trust her. It made it seem like she could be another parent off the campus. It was really nice to know my coach before everything started happening."

The coaching staff at Bethany also played a large role in Kimbrough's decision.

"My coach (Keith Ferguson) really believed in me," Kimbrough said. "Talking to him, I could see he genuinely cared about me and my future."

Both Webb City standouts are ready to show what they are capable of at the next level.

"I plan on playing with the same effort that I had the past four years," Duda said. "My first year I want to get a lot of playing time. I want to show I can be the player that I know I am. That's my goal right now."

"I just want to go out and show what a freshman can do," Kimbrough said. "We have a great group of freshmen coming in. Hopefully, we all get to chip in a little bit and play and give our best."