Softball pitcher Corah Price came to Colorado Springs on an international flight four years ago. Golfer Luke Trujillo hopes to one day leave it behind in a fighter plane.
Coming and going, the celebration of student-athletes at Wednesday's National Signing Day was as much about an appreciation for the past as it was for excitement of the future.
Inside a theater at Discovery Canyon, were six seniors - surrounded by oversized party balloons and draped in their future school colors - four who signed with Division-I programs and two inked at D-II schools. Gazette Softball Peak Performer of the Year Price made it official with Toledo, while 2016 4A state golf champ Trujillo signed with the Air Force Academy.
Amber Rees picked UNLV for softball, Caleb Blackburn chose Pennsylvania for golf, Jaden Boles is headed to Nebraska-Kearney for baseball, and Ki Givens will go to Seton Hill (Pennsylvania) for softball.
In front of family and friends, each player had a coach or teacher talk on their behalf before signing.
The spotlight was nothing new for guys like Boles, who pitched a bullpen session in front of 50-something coaches attached to radar guns as part of his recruitment process.
As for the journey itself? It was hard to sum up.
"It was good luck," Price said of her trek. "But also maybe this is where I was supposed to be."
The 6-foot throwing ace didn't always have a clear picture of this day. Forced to keep her life as portable as possible with a father in the Air Force, Price bounced from Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Kansas and Germany only to wind up in Colorado midway through eighth grade.
Price flourished in stability, and soon became an important piece to the softball programs at Discovery Canyon and the Triple Crown Stars in Fort Collins. Soon, she was a magnet for D-I offers.
"When we got here it was a lot more competitive, there were travel-ball teams, there were pitching coaches she had access to," her dad, Christian Price said. "It was definitely a great opportunity."
To the side of Corah Price, teammates Rees and Givens followed suit.
Rees looked at home, becoming the third sibling in her household to sign her National Letter of Intent from Discovery Canyon. Her sister Anna became the first softball signee in school history in 2011 and her brother AJ Rees inked in 2013 after winning his third state title in wrestling.
The latest Rees signee said once she visited UNLV, "she just knew."
Givens, on the other hand, is dealing with uncertainties. The shortstop cherished the day but couldn't help fear the unknown surrounding an injury to her right arm. Givens said she has dealt with arm tendinitis since her junior season and missed her senior year because of it. She is undergoing rehabilitation.
"(Today) is so relieving," she said. "All the hard work, all the pain. They say blood, sweat, tears, it truly was."
One team's core players to another, Trujillo and Blackburn bid farewell to their high school golf careers with a flick of the wrist. Playing at the next level was just part of the equation in deciding their future, both said.
Instead, Trujillo is also eager to serve his country and is avid about becoming a fighter pilot.
Blackburn, who has a 4.62 GPA, added that his decision came down to more than golf. It made the day no less special.
"It's awesome," Blackburn said. "This is kind of symbolic of wrapping it all up and it's confirmation in my mind. It is surreal."