A three-sport athlete at Central Valley High School, senior Ryan Palecek will move to the Midwest this fall to play college football.
Palecek signed a national letter of intent with Kansas Wesleyan University in April.
“It’s been my dream since I was 6 years old to play college football,” he said. “Now, I’m here. I’m super excited. It’s awesome to be one of the few from Central Valley to make it to a four-year school. I’ve never been the biggest and fastest guy. But I worked so hard.”
Central Valley athletic director Greg Magni staged a signing ceremony for Palecek on May 1.
Ryan had a host of supporters at the event, including his parents, two sisters, coaches, teammates and friends.
“It was very emotional,” he said. “I’ve never been so happy in my life. Everyone is excited for me. A lot of people are proud of me.”
Palecek visited Kansas Wesleyan University in March.
“It’s awesome I get to play at the next level and further my education.”Ryan Palecek
“I was stressed out for a while trying to figure out what I was going to do,” he said. “I got a couple offers from other schools but they weren’t as good as this one. It’s a good portion, 65-75 percent. It’s awesome I get to play at the next level and further my education.”
Palecek could see playing time at outside linebacker or safety as a true freshman.
The Coyotes enjoyed their best season to date in 2018.
Kansas Wesleyan University compiled a program-best 13-1 overall record, advanced to the semifinals of the NAIA Championship Series and claimed the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title (10-0).
“I’ll be competing for a spot on defense,” Palecek said. “I want to help the team get better any way I can. I’m going to give my best every time I’m on the field.”
Palecek earned honorable-mention Central California Conference recognition for his outstanding play at linebacker his senior year.
He had 61 tackles, two pass deflections, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 10 games.
Central Valley amassed a 2-8 overall record and finished sixth with a 1-5 mark during its first season in the CCC.
“I loved playing for coach (Scott) Edwards,” Palecek said. “He really helped me out through my four years. He’s the best coach I’ve ever had.”