Kluck, Montel set for next level
Published 9:15 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Ryan Kluck and Logan Montel have been friends for years, so it was fitting that they signed together to play sports at the college level during a ceremony on Wednesday at King’s Fork High School.
Kluck, the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, is a preferred walk-on at James Madison University, and Montel, Lady Bulldogs soccer star, has a guaranteed roster spot at Christopher Newport University, to which she verbally committed last spring.
The two were joined on Wednesday by family, coaches and a crowd of teammates and friends. Each athlete addressed the assembly along with their coaches and parents.
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“It’s special having all kinds of family and friends come out to support me and sit down and watch me for a brief 20 minutes even though I know they all had practice afterwards and family has work,” Montel said. “But it feels like a weight has been lifted off of me because I’m finally going to college, and it’s serious now, it’s official.”
After the ceremony, her father, Brady Montel, said, “I’m very proud of her, I’m very excited for her in her next journey, the next chapter of her life, and just looking forward to see what she can do and how she can challenge herself and get the most out of the opportunity that she has in front of her.”
Kluck once saw a video that included a line that he decided to make his senior quote: “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.”
His mother, Paige Kluck, and King’s Fork coach Joe Jones both noted how Ryan Kluck has lived out that quote, which put him in a position to sign with JMU.
He has invested hard work and dedication into the sport of football since he started playing Pop Warner as a seventh-grader.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that it’s paid off, and I’m able to see all these people that have supported and will probably continue supporting (me),” Kluck said, referring to those at Wednesday’s ceremony.
He noted it has probably been since the day he started playing that he wanted to be on the college gridiron.
“My uncle, he played college football, so when I heard his stories and things like that, I was like, ‘Man, I really want to do that,’” Kluck said. “So once I started playing football, it just stuck with me always.”
He was weighing different college options for a while, as the recruiting process began near the end of his junior season and concluded three weeks ago when he announced his decision.
“It was stressful at points — all the phone calls and texts and other coaches saying, ‘We beat this team, and we beat them, so come to us,’” Kluck said. “So eventually picking a school, it was a relief.”
Among the schools he was considering were Methodist University, Randolph-Macon College and Bridgewater College.
“There were a few other schools, but JMU, once I went up there for visits and game visits and things like that, it just really stuck out to me, not because it was Division I, just because of the atmosphere they have and where the program is going right now,” he said.
The preferred walk-on status gives Kluck a guaranteed opportunity to try out for the Dukes, and depending on his performance, he could earn scholarship money in the future.
“I would never doubt Ryan Kluck in what he puts his mind to doing,” Joe Jones said.
Kluck has a lot of hard work ahead of him as a walk-on at a Division I school, but Jones added, “Not too many people get to make that step, so I’m proud of him for that and love him for what he’s done.”
Because the Dukes have plenty of quarterbacks, Kluck is considering walking on as a receiver and climbing the depth chart.
“I’m proud of my son for the drive that he has, all the camps he’s been to, all the hard work he’s put in,” said Ryan Kluck’s father, Mark Kluck. “I’m proud that he’s finally got a school that he wants to go (to). This has been his dream school.”
Ryan Kluck plans to major in sports management.