Rhinelander High School senior Kyle Comer will be playing Division II college baseball next season.
While he’s had his mind made up for several months, Comer made it official on Wednesday, signing his national letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
“It’s nice to get this out of the way,” said Comer, who was joined at Wednesday’s ceremony by his family, several teammates and RHS baseball coaches Joe Waksmonski and Dan Huhnstock. “It’s still exciting to make things official, though.”
After considering several schools, Comer narrowed his choices down to UM-Duluth and UW-Stevens Point, which is coinsidently where Waksmonski starred as a catcher in the early 2000s. Comer decided to become a Bulldog after visiting the school over the holidays.
“The staff and team at Duluth put in a lot of effort to make me feel at home up there,” Comer said. “They wanted me to be there.” Comer will receive a partial athletic scholarship from UMD, which was another large factor in his decision.
While known for its standout football and hockey teams, Minnesota-Duluth’s baseball program has a relatively pedestrain history. The team went 21-25 last season, including 16-15 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. This year’s squad is currently near the bottom of the conference’s standings with a 2-10 conference record. The Bulldogs are 9-17 overall. Comer cited another former RHS athletic standout, Tyler Johnson, as one of his inspirations for choosing Duluth. Johnson, a starting nose tackle on UM-Duluth’s Division II national champion football team several years ago, is now an elementary school teacher and assistant athletic coach in the School District of Rhinelander.
“Coach Johnson was part of a national champion in football at Duluth, and I hope to help the baseball team up there get to that level,” said Comer.
Comer, primarily a pitcher and third baseman for the Hodags, said he’s been told by the UM-Duluth coaching staff that he will initially play a utility role on the team. “Infield, outfield, pitching, I’ll play wherever they want me to,” said Comer.
Waksmonski said he was proud to see Comer sign with a Division II school to continue his baseball career.
“Kyle is a well-deserving individual and comes from a great family,” said Waksmonski. “I always tell kids that are considering playing a sport in college that athletics are secondary to getting a good education. Kyle wants to go into athletic training, and UM-Duluth has an incredible program.”
Comer is a three-sport athlete for the Hodags, also playing football and basketball. He’s also not the only player on the squad getting college attention, as Waksmonski said senior Joe Zuiker is getting attention from both UWSP and UMD.
Editor Craig Mandli is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.