HAYS, Kan. - Fort Hays State women's basketball head coach Tony Hobson has announced the signing of six incoming freshman in advance of the 2020-21 season. All six players in the loaded class earned All-State honors at least once during their high school tenure.
"This is a very talented freshman class that could prove to be the strongest class we've ever signed," said Hobson. "That is saying a lot because we have had several tremendous classes over the last nine years.
"Not only is this a deep group with six solid players, but it also covers all positions. They all come from winning programs, and there are multiple state champions in this group. Five of the six players played in the state tournament this year, with the other one missing the state tournament by just one game."
Sydney Golladay | 5-8 | Guard
Fremont, Neb. | Fremont High Sc
Sydney Golladay was a four-time letterwinner at Fremont (Neb.) High School. As a team captain during her senior year, the 5-8 guard helped the Tigers reach the Class A semifinals after their first State Tournament victory in school history to reach the Class A semifinals. Golladay earned honorable mention All-State accolades after averaging 11.2 points, 4.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. She earned first team all-conference honors and was picked to play in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game.
Olivia Hollenbeck | 6-3 | Forward
Lincoln, Neb. | Lincoln Christian School
Olivia Hollenbeck is coming off an impressive four-year run at Lincoln (Neb.) Christian School. The forward was a first team All-State selection as a junior and a senior. She played in three state championship games as a Crusader, winning the Class C1 title in 2017. A two-time team captain, Hollenbeck set the school record for highest field goal percentage and scored more than 1,000 points in her career at LCS. She averaged 15 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.2 assists per game as a senior. As both a junior and senior Hollenbeck was named first team all-conference, first team All-Class C1 state tournament and second team Lincoln Journal Star all-city team. She was also selected to play in this year's Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game.
Emma Ruddle | 5-8 | Guard
Canton, Kan. | McPherson High School
Emma Ruddle joins the Tiger family from McPherson (Kan.) High School, a perennial powerhouse. A three-year starter at MHS, Ruddle helped the Bullpups to a 66-5 record over the last three seasons, reaching the state semifinals each year. McPherson won the state title in her sophomore season (2018) and were in the semifinals before the cancellation of this year's tournament. Ruddle earned All-State honors for the second time in her career as a senior after picking up second team honors as a freshman at Canton-Galva High School. The guard earned all-league honors three times, including first team as a freshman, honorable mention as a junior and second team as a senior. Ruddle averaged 8.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 2.3 assists per game as a senior. She also excelled in track, winning three state titles and finishing runner-up three times. She won both the 100m hurdles and the 100m dash as a sophomore before capturing a second 100m hurdle championship as a junior in 2019.
Jessie Sallach | 6-1 | Forward
Callaway, Neb. | South Loup High School
Jessie Sallach joins the Tigers after a strong career at South Loup High School in Arnold, Neb. The forward earned All-State honors, picking up honorable mention honors from the Lincoln Journal Star three times and second team honors from the Omaha World Herald. A 1,000-point scorer at South Loup, Sallach left her time with the Lady Bobcats as the career leader in points, rebounds and blocks, the single season leader in points, rebounds and blocks and the single-game leader in points and rebounds. The Callaway, Neb. native was a three-time first team all-conference performer and was selected to play in the 2020 Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game. Sallach nearly averaged a double-double as a senior, tallying 13.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. She also had success in the classroom, earning NSAA Basketball Academic All-State honors.
Carly Thompson | 6-0 | Guard
Greenwood Village, Colo. | Cherry Creek High School
Carly Thompson is coming off back-to-back runs to the Colorado class 5A state championship game with Cherry Creek High School. The Greenwood Village, Colo. native helped the Bruins to a state title in 2019 and reached the title game again in 2020 before the tournament was cancelled. Thompson was a team captain as a senior, earning all-league honors after averaging 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. The guard also earned first team Academic All-State honors.
Katie Wagner | 5-11 | Guard
Maize, Kan. | Maize South High School
Katie Wagner compiled an impressive resume during her time at Maize South High School. The 5-11 guard earned All-State honors each of the last three years while guiding the Mavericks to sub-state titles as a junior and senior. She was a finalist for Kansas Class 5A Player of the Year and earned first team All-State honors from the Topeka Capital Journal, Wichita Eagle and Sports In Kansas. After averaging 18.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.0 steals per game as a senior, she also earned a second team All-State selection by the KBCA, a spot in the All-State All-Class Top 30 by Sports In Kansas, a spot in the Wichita Area All-Metro Top 5, first team all-league honors and co-MVP honors in the AVCTL DII. The Maize, Kan. native also earned first team all-league honors as a sophomore and junior while picking up multiple first team All-State honors as a junior and honorable mention All-State accolades as a sophomore. Wagner surpassed the 1,000-point plateau during her senior year.
2020 FHSU Women's Basketball Signing Class
Sydney Golladay, 5-8 Guard - Fremont, Neb. Fremont HS
Olivia Hollenbeck, 6-3 Forward - Lincoln, Neb. Lincoln Christian School
Emma Ruddle, 5-8 Guard - Canton, Kan. McPherson HS
Jessie Sallach, 6-1 Forward - Callaway, Neb. South Loup HS
Carly Thompson, 6-0 Guard - Greenwood Village, Colo. Cherry Creek HS
Katie Wagner, 5-11 Guard - Maize, Kan. Maize South HS