MOUNT AYR — Mount Ayr three-sport standout Braydee Poore will be changing colors next year as he recently signed with University of Northern Iowa for track and field.
“It feels good,” Poore said about his decision. “It just felt right when I told mom that I was going to sign with UNI. It was just a good feeling. It felt like where I want to be, where I should be.”
Poore excelled in football, basketball and track and field during his time at Mount Ayr, earning all-state honors in football and basketball and winning a state championship in the high jump during his career.
He received interest from schools wanting him to come play either football or basketball, but in the end, he chose track and field.
“I always told myself I was going to go play college basketball, but the level of competition wasn’t there for me,” he said. “It was smaller schools. I was really successful in track and UNI came around. You get that big school feel, but I can still walk across campus in 10 minutes.”
Poore said a big reason for his decision was the coaching staff at UNI.
“I just like coach (Dan) Steele and coach (Anthony) Bertoli,” he said. “They’re really good people and coach Steele has a good resume, being at Oregon for 10 years. That’s exciting to get to work with him. I feel like the coaches care about me.”
Mount Ayr head track coach Brad Elliott said he thinks Poore can learn a lot from the coaching staff.
“They’ve got a great program,” Elliott said. “They’ve got a good staff up there. Dan Steele, he’s a former assistant at University of Oregon. Bertoli was a multis athlete. Year to year they have athletes getting success.
“It seemed like after visiting up at UNI, he came away pretty charged about the coaching staff, some of the athletes he saw there, and I think that all played a role in his decision, not only going to UNI, but also in what sport he wanted to do in college,” Elliott continued.
Poore, who jumped 6-9 to break the Mount Ayr school record at the Pride of Iowa Conference Meet, said the UNI coaching staff wants him to focus on high jump when he starts practice. Poore was also a state qualifier in the 110 meter high hurdles and shuttle hurdle relay.
“We really love this young man,” UNI head coach Dan Steele said. Not only is he loaded with talent, he’s an incredibly nice and likable kid. I think he has the potential to be a real star at UNI.”
Elliott said he’s excited for Poore to have the opportunity to compete at the Division I level.
“Sometimes kids don’t really see the potential of what you can go out and do in college,” he said. “It (track and field) seems to get overlooked a lot of times. With Braydee, I was never trying to push him one way or the other, but his senior year I saw the opportunity to get him to the Kansas Relays and expose him to the college level a bit more, and I thought it might hook him on to the opportunity that is there. Where some kids from Iowa get overlooked, it’s good to see him get a spot somewhere and also at the Division I level.”
Likewise, Poore is excited about the opportunity that now sits in front of him.
“It’s just something special to me,” he said. “It’s kind of like a dream come true to me. I just want to make the most out of it.”
Poore plans to major in marketing, with an interest in sports marketing.