Nevada seniors Grace Francis and Matt Chitty signed letters of intent to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level on Feb. 7 at the Nevada High School.
Francis, the daughter of Jim and Mary Budd of Nevada, signed to play softball at Graceland University in Lamoni.
“I’m really excited,” Francis said. “I think it will be a really fun opportunity. I’m excited for something new and I’m glad I get to continue my softball career through college.”
Last season as a junior at Nevada, Francis hit .453 with a .627 slugging average, 10 doubles, one home run and 18 RBI. She was named all-Heart of Iowa Conference honorable mention.
Francis was thinking about playing soccer for Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo or just going to school without continuing her athletic career. Going to Graceland for softball turned out to be the perfect fit.
“They gave me really good offers academic-wise,” Francis said. “I love the coaching staff, the girls are really nice and I love the campus.”
Francis said she is planning on majoring in either agricultural business or criminal justice.
Chitty, the son of Marty and Jenny Chitty of Nevada, signed to play football at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“They were the first school to offer me and they stuck with me the whole process,” Chitty said. “I got recruited by bigger schools — FBS and FCS — (but) this coaching staff is the coaching staff I felt best fit me and academics was huge for me. I am planning on going into the health care field and this is a great place for that.”
Among Chitty’s offers included a Division 1 offer from Army and an offer as a preferred walk-on at Iowa State. UNI, Colombia, Brown and Dartmouth also showed interest in Chitty.
In his senior year at Nevada, Chitty was an all-district performer in Class 3A District 6. He helped the Cubs get three wins in the district and finish 5-4 overall — their first winning season as a 3A program since 1992.
Chitty racked up 41 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two fumble recoveries and one defensive touchdown at defensive end in 2017. He said Augustana is planning on having him at strong-side defensive end.
“I wanted to redshirt, that’s what my plan is, but if it comes down to it, I may end up playing right away,” Chitty said. “It depends on the coaching staff (and their) needs.”
Chitty said he plans on getting a master’s degree in exercise science and then go into a physician’s assistant program.