Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Jun. 23—NEOSHO, Mo. — A pair of Neosho student-athletes inked letters-of-intent to continue their academic and athletic careers recently.

Landon Austin signed to play college basketball at local Northeastern Oklahoma A&M while Wyatt Keplar put pen to paper and will pitch at Evangel University next spring.

“It meant a lot to me to have the opportunity to stay close to home while playing for a great program in NEO,” Austin said. “I really enjoyed my time on my visit. I loved everything about the campus and the way they played the game of basketball.”

“It was a really great feeling because I have worked so hard for it,” Keplar said. “It was a really good feeling knowing all my hard-work paid off. The main reason why I chose Evangel is because it’s close to home. The baseball program is really good. IAs soon as I got there, I knew this was the place I wanted to be for four years.”

Austin helped Zane Culp’s Wildcats to the district championship game for the third straight season. The point guard averaged 15.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game as a senior.

He considered offers from several other junior college schools along with a few Division II and NAIA programs.

“I feel like I’ll fit in with the system pretty well at NEO,” Austin said. “They are a run-and-gun type of team, and that’s the type of play that I feel best in.”

Kepler, who is armed with a four-seam and two-seam fastball along with a curveball and changeup, was a stalwart on the mound for Neosho this past spring. He’s expected to contribute right away at Evangel.

“The coach told me if I keep improving — he sees a lot of growth in me and if I have a good freshman fall for JV — I could be a bullpen guy next spring for varsity,” the lefty said. “That’s what I’m focusing on right now.”

Austin said his primary goal at NEO is to be the best leader he can be while never taking any plays or reps off in games or practices.

“I feel like doing that will elevate myself as a man and as a basketball player,” he added.

Keplar’s biggest goal is to get all his classes organized and get it done in the classroom before thinking about baseball.

“I’m just trying to make sure I put all my focus on academics first and then athletics will come after that,” Keplar said.

Both have fond memories of their time at Neosho.

“It was a great learning and growing experience for myself,” Austin said. “I learned a lot about myself as a person and a basketball player.”

“They were great,” Keplar said. “I loved all the memories I made with my past teammates and my senior year. That group of guys were really special. It was really cool to surround myself with coaches that were experienced and knew what they were talking about.”

Neosho soccer player Diego Vargas also recently signed college letters to play for Crowder College in the fall. The versatile 6-foot-1 striker tallied five goals as a senior for James Carter’s Wildcats that reached the Class 3 state quarterfinals in 2020.