Sooners Sign Seven for 2017

Chelsey Kraft
By Chelsey Kraft
Assistant Director of Communications

NORMAN — The Oklahoma soccer family welcomed seven student-athletes to its program as head coach Matt Potter announced the program's most recent signing class on Wednesday. The talented group of McKinley Crone, Darbey Hargrove, Emma Ledbetter, Paige Hobart, Kacie Kinley, Hannah Molone and Erika Yost will join the Sooners in 2017.

"This signing class shows the growth of the program and the foundation that we have now set for the future," OU head coach Matt Potter said. "We are recruiting players that fit. We have replaced pieces of the program that we felt needed addressing. Our intent is to continue building, and with a proven product, we are now recruiting families and student-athletes that represent the values and style of play we feel can be successful.

"The class has been identified and recruited by the staff, and all credit goes to them," Potter continued. "Some date back to Graeme (Abel), some Andy (Varns) and some Brandi (Vega) and Alexis (Vizarelis). It shows we continue to have an understanding of the philosophy of the program. They all come from established and successful youth environments. Well coached, better people. I'm excited too see the impact of our newest members, and how they compliment and make the current group better."

McKinley Crone

Maitland, Fla. | Edgewater High School | Florida Kraze/Krush | Goalkeeper

A native of Maitland, Fla., McKinley Crone is a four-time letterwinner at Edgewater High School under head coach Chuck Green. She is a goalkeeper and also played forward as a freshman. Through her first three seasons, Crone recorded more than 450 saves and scored 27 goals. So far her in her senior season, she has tallied more than 130 saves, scored one goal and recorded five assists. The team is the Orange Country Metro West Champions and 4A District Champions.

In the 2015-16 season, the team also won both of those honors and advanced to the 4A Regional Semifinals. Individually, Crone was named to the All-Metro Team, the All-Metro Player of the Year and Orlando Sentinel Female Athlete of the Year. This season, she has earned Orlando Family Athlete of the Year accolades.

Crone is a member of Florida Kraze/Krush under club coach Hue Menzies. As a keeper, she has posted a 7-4-3 record this season and recorded more than 85 saves in 14 games so far. She has also tallied four assists and was named Club Player of the Year along with Club Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016. Crone helped lead the team to the State Cup Final Four in both 2015 and 2016, where it finished as the runner up in 2015, and to a Region 3 League Championship in the 2015-16 season.

Crone also competes in varsity swimming, is a member of the National Honor Society, has been on her school’s honor roll every semester for four years and is a Beta Club member. Crone is the daughter of Mark and Lora Crone and older sister to Addison. At Oklahoma, she plans to major in finance and international business.

Why Crone Chose Oklahoma:

"I chose OU because it truly felt like home away from home. Going halfway across the country for college is scary, but everyone part of the school made me feel part of their family. The soccer program holds each other to high standards that I admire and like to hold myself to as well. OU was the perfect fit for me academically, athletically and socially."

Head Coach Matt Potter on Crone:

"McKinley is a wonderful talent. She has achieved a lot in the game already and aims for more. The modern keeper needs to be comfortable playing as a field player, and McKinley has the confidence and ability to do just that. She also brings good leadership qualities to the table."

Darbey Hargrove

Houston, Texas | Cypress Creek High School | Texas Rush | Defender

Throughout her career at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas, Hargrove has played forward, midfielder and defender under head coach Kathy Fling. In her senior season, she is only playing club soccer, but prior to that she was a three-time letterwinner with her high school team. In three seasons she scored 51 goals and recorded 20 assists.

Hargrove has received multiple honors, including being named the 17-6A Offensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in 2014, Team MVP in both 2015 and 2016 and First-Team All-District in 2014, 2015 and 2016. She was also recognized as the VYPE Magazine Player of the Year and Houston Chronicle Athlete of the Week. A National Honor Society member, Hargrove earned Academic All-District honors in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Hargrove plays club soccer for Texas Rush under head coach Don Gremmell. In her time there, she has played in all of the club’s games as a defender. Hargrove is listed as a three-star recruit by Top Drawer soccer. The last three seasons, the club has competed at ECNL National Finals, finishing second in the ECNL Texas Conference as in the top eight at National Finals as an U-15 squad.

Hargrove is the daughter of Tom and Rhonda Hargrove and has two younger siblings, Mackenzie and Rex. She plans to major in social work at Oklahoma.

Why Hargrove Chose Oklahoma:

“I have always known I wanted to play college soccer and OU was one of my top schools since middle school. My dad would tape college soccer games and we would watch them together on the weekends and discuss their styles of play and where I might fit in. We both thought I fit the OU style of play. I began talking to the coaches and they came out to see me play and it happened. When I visited I felt so comfortable and really felt a bond with everyone I met. I feel so blessed with this opportunity and I am so thankful to all my coaches that helped me get here!” 

Head Coach Matt Potter on Hargrove:

"Darbey is a strong, powerful and no-nonsense defender. She possesses a wonderful left foot and striking ability and is talented as a set piece and service specialist."

Paige Hobart

Broken Arrow, Okla. | Union High School | TSC Hurricane | Goalkeeper

Paige Hobart hails from Broken Arrow, Okla., and attends Union High School. She has played both goalkeeper and forward and is a three-time letterwinner so far under head coach Brian Elliot. Last season as a junior, Hobart recorded three goals and two assists. In goal, she grabbed 33 saves, including two on penalty kicks, and allowed just three goals in 21 matches played. She helped lead the team to two state championships and two national championships in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. In 2016, her honors included All-District, All-Conference, All-State and Golden Glove. She was also a VIP at the 40th Annual Sports Headliner Awards Banquet (March of Dimes).

A member of TSC Hurricane, Hobart has led her club team to the ECNL National Playoffs three years in a row as a goalkeeper. The team has also finished as the state runner-up and won the Texas Conference in ECNL under coaches Kerry Shubert and Jesse Williams. For the 2015-16 season, Hobart served as a team captain.

Hobart is the daughter of Duane and Karla Hobart, and her older sister Jordan is currently a member of the Oklahoma soccer team. Hobart, who has been on the honor roll every year since elementary school, plans to major in engineering at OU.  

Why Hobart Chose Oklahoma:

"Ever since I was little and growing up, my family has always watched and cheered for OU. I always knew, watching them, I wanted to be a part of this school whether I played for them or not. They also have a good engineering program, which is my desired major. Also, having my sister already at the school and on the soccer team is a bonus because I'll always have her there for support and to help me with being on my own for the first time!"

Head Coach Matt Potter on Hobart:

"Paige is a different personality to McKinley, but another accomplished goalkeeper in her own right. She has a great presence and command of her box and is comfortable playing in possession."

Kacie Kinley

Shawnee, Kan. | Mill Valley High School | Sporting Blue Valley ECNL U18 | Defender

A native of Shawnee, Kan., Kacie Kinley attends Mill Valley High School, where she is a four-time letterwinner under head coach Arlan Vomhof. Through her first three seasons, she has started every game of her high school career, scoring a combined 26 goals and recording 20 assists so far. Kinley’s honors include First-Team All-State (2014, 2016), First-Team All-Conference (2014, 2016), Second-Team All-State (2015), Second-Team All-Conference (2015), Team Captain (2016) and LWJ All-Area First Team (2014, 2015, 2016).

Kinley plays club soccer as a defender for Sporting Blue Valley ECNL U18 under coaches Gareth Pritchard and Doug McLagan. She has only missed five games in her four-year career due to injury, starting each game in which she has played. So far in her senior season, Kinley has recorded two assists in 15 games played. In her freshman, sophomore and junior years, she tallied a combined four goals and six assists. In 2014, she helped lead her team to a fourth-place finish at the ECNL North American League National Championship. Some of her honors include ECNL PDP Midwest (North) invitee (2016), TDS 2017 IMG Academy 150 (No. 136), TDS 2017 Regional – Heartland (No. 5) and TDS 2017 Positional – Defender (No. 27).

Kinley is the daughter of Luke and Kelly Hilmes and sister to Karlton, Talon, Garrett and Taylor. A National Honor Society Member, Kinley has earned three straight academic letters. She is going to major in biology as a Sooner.

Why Kinley Chose Oklahoma:

"I chose Oklahoma because of the feeling I get when I'm on campus and because of the girls on the team. While touring the campus for the first time I fell in love with the beautiful red brick and the overall beauty of the campus. When I spent time with the girls I realized they were the type of people I wanted to become. My experience at OU was unmatched by any other college."

Head Coach Matt Potter on Kinley:

"Kacie is a strong, powerful defender. She is gritty and competitive and has a great presence when she plays. She is also dominant in the air and a player we feel will do well with the style and system we feel can be successful." 

Emma Ledbetter

Edmond, Okla. | Edmond North High School | OFC 99 | Forward/Midfielder

Hailing from Edmond, Okla., Emma Ledbetter is a four-time letterwinner at Edmond North High School under head coach Meagan Anderson. After missing her entire freshman season due to injuries, Ledbetter came back strong to start every game as a sophomore and junior in 2015 and 2016, leading the team in scoring both seasons.

Ledbetter plays both forward and midfielder and has helped her squad to back-to-back semifinal appearances in the State Tournament, and she will serve as a team captain for her senior season, which begins this month. Honors received include All-Conference (2015, 2016), All-District (2015, 2016), VYPE Comeback Player of the Year (2015), All-Big City (2016) and Edmond North High School Offensive Player of the Year (2016).  

Ledbetter plays club soccer for OFC 99 under the direction of Jimmy Hampton and led the team in scoring. As a forward/midfielder, she has aided the club to two Oklahoma State Championships in 2013 and 2015 and two Region III semifinal appearances in those seasons. In 2016, she was part of the OFC 98 team that was a Region III Finalist under now-OU assistant coach Alexis Vizarelis. In both 2013 and 2016, she was among the top three leading scorers at regionals.

The daughter of Mike and Kara Ledbetter and older sister to Claire and Ruby, Ledbetter plans to major in pre-physical therapy as a Sooner. She also ran varsity cross country and played varsity basketball, finishing All-Conference and All-Region twice in cross country. Ledbetter is a member of the National Honor Society and on FCA Leadership Team.

Why Ledbetter Chose Oklahoma:

"The campus is beautiful and full of rich tradition, and I have dreamed about being a Sooner ever since I was a little girl! But, ultimately I chose Oklahoma because of its incredible soccer program, endless academic opportunities, and it's close to home!"

Head Coach Matt Potter on Ledbetter:

"Emma is a player that has shown a mental toughness to come back from injury. She is athletic and dynamic and has an eye for the goal. We are excited to see how Emma evolves in her time as a Sooner."

Hannah Molone

Edmond, Okla. | Edmond Memorial High School | OFC 98 | Midfielder

After graduating early, Hannah Molone joined the Oklahoma soccer team for this spring season. Molone attended Edmond Memorial High School in Edmond, Okla. There she was a three-time letterwinner as a midfielder under coaches Randy Bohuslavicky and Miranda Thorne. Molone earned All-District honors in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and received the “Heart and Hustle” award for her team in those three seasons.  

Molone played club soccer for OFC 98 under now OU-assistant coach Alexis Vizarelis. She served as a team captain and helped lead the team to three state championships and a regional finals appearance.

Molone’s parents are Darin and Kellie Molone, and she has two older brothers, Josh and Blake. At Oklahoma, she is majoring in business.

Why Molone Chose Oklahoma:

"I chose the University of Oklahoma because it is close to home, and I am very close with my family. I also chose this university because the soccer program is outstanding, the girls are very welcoming and the coaching staff is phenomenal."

Head Coach Matt Potter on Molone:

"Hannah has joined us for the spring semester and that speaks to her intent to be a fixture in the team for next fall. Hannah is good in possession, comfortable under pressure and has great attacking qualities that fit our style of play."

Erika Yost

Fountain Hills, Ariz. | Fountain Hills High School | SC del Sol ECNL | Forward/Midfielder

Erika Yost comes to Norman from Fountain Hills, Ariz. At Fountain Hills High School, Yost has earned four letters under head coach Alison Mabery. Through 20 games in her senior season, Yost has scored 50 goals and recorded 19 assists as a forward and midfielder. Yost scored a combined 50 goals and tallied 14 assists in her first three seasons of high school. She has led her team to two state championships (2013-14, 2015-16) and a runner-up finish (2014-15).

Her individual honors include First-Team All-Division III (2013-14, 2015-16), All-Section Honorable Mention Division III (2014-15, missed most of season due to injury) and two-time Team Captain (2015-16, 2016-17). Additionally, Yost has been named the AZ Central Player of the Week, the AZ Central Runner-Up Player of the Month, the AZ Central High School Sports Awards – Best Championship Performance after scoring nine goals over the course of four games at the state tournament (all 2015-16). This season, Yost was named to the Arizona Soccer Showcase Best XI. 

She helped her SC del Sol ECNL club team to a ECNL Southwest Conference Championship and the Quarterfinals of the ECNL Nationals Champions League in the 2015-16 season. Through 14 games this season, she has scored three goals and added two assists. In league play the previous four seasons, she scored 24 goals and tallied 15 assists. In 2014-15, she earned a PDP Invitation. Yost also competed in cross country and track and field. She holds multiple school records in track, and last season aided her team to a first-place finish at state.

Yost is the daughter of Scott and DeAnn Yost and sister to Brooke. She is planning to major in interior design at OU.

Why Yost Chose Oklahoma:

"I chose Oklahoma because I had visited quite a few schools, and the minute I stepped on campus it felt like home. Oklahoma's staff, beautiful campus, soccer program and education made it my top choice. There is only one Oklahoma!"

Head Coach Matt Potter on Yost:

"Erika is an athletic midfield player that has a plenty of pace. She will be exciting to watch within the framework of our team. Erika is industrious and committed to the team can combine or beat players individually."