By Fancy Robbins
After hundreds of games, hours upon hours of the best effort they could give, the athlete signs the paper. Finally, their biggest dream is coming to life.
Since the start of the school year, seven Delta seniors have signed letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers in college. One of those, Addie Chester, already is enrolled this semester at the University of Louisville, where she is playing women’s soccer at the NCAA Division 1 level.
The other six will play at smaller colleges this fall.
Makayla Robles is a senior cross country and track and field runner and a swimmer. Recently she committed to the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne to pursue her running career.
“They have a good team atmosphere, and running cross country would be a good thing for me to do,” Robles said.
She wanted to choose a university that will challenge her and help her succeed in her future. She plans to major in nursing and get a job directly out of college.
Robles considered other options, like IU South Bend for running, but they stopped the running program.
Her backup plan always was going to Ball State University.
During the summer, Robles plans to visit her new team to meet them and start training with them. She has already followed a few of her teammates from St. Francis on Instagram.
Recently, Robles ran in the Warsaw Track and Field indoor invite. She had a personal record time of 5 minutes, 52 seconds in the 1600 and 2:41 in the 800.
Robles’ swimming season recently ended so now she can train again as a runner.
“Makayla has learned a TON and it shows,” cross country and track coach Mackenzie Dye Conley said. “Her work ethic has improved from previous years and she’s learned some valuable skills that have helped her improve in her training and in her racing performance, like sticking to a race plan, pacing, benefits of stretching/rolling/rehab routines, etc.”
During Robles’ freshman track season, she broke the girls’ 3200-meter record.
“I think Makayla’s love of running and competition pulled her toward continuing her racing career. An NAIA program will be the perfect balance for her,” Dye Conley said.
Nick Crabtree is a senior baseball player. He committed to Taylor University, where he plans to major in business management and minor in exercise science.
“It is a really good baseball school as well as academic school and the coaches are great,“ Crabtree said.
Crabtree is a pitcher/utility player. He got noticed by playing throughout the summer and pitching, then he went to a few Taylor baseball camps.
Crabtree has been preparing for his college athletics experience with time management.
“Trying to manage my time a lot better because in college I will be traveling and playing baseball, so being able to manage my time is very important,“ Crabtree said.
Adapting to the college athletics environment could be a bit tough for some people.
“I’m definitely going to have to get a lot stronger to be able to compete with 18-23 year olds,“ he said.
Senior boys’ tennis player Adam Altobella committed to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.
“The biggest appeal of Wabash was definitely the academics and alumni support,” Altobella said. “I feel like a Wabash education will prepare me well, and that I will have a lifelong support group through the alumni network.”
Altobella plans to major in political science because he finds it interesting, and he would like to attend law school after Wabash.
Altobella has been preparing to play for Wabash by playing tennis five days a week and has incorporated workouts.
“I’m excited for every aspect of the Wabash experience, However, I would say that I’m most excited to live in my fraternity house (Lambda Chi Alpha) and to represent Wabash on the tennis court.” Altobella said.
He initiated a relationship with the Wabash tennis coach during his junior year. “We kept in touch throughout the offseason, and he watched me about four times during the season,” Altobella said.
He got offered a spot on the team when he visited Wabash for their homecoming game.
Another senior tennis player, Mason Wrisley, committed to Johnson University in Knoxville, Tenn.
“I chose Johnson because I liked the atmosphere and I feel it is the perfect college for me in terms of being able to do well athletically and academically,” Wrisley said.
He has also had friends attend Johnson University.
As tennis is already a very fast-paced sport, the competition is going to be higher than it would in high school. To prepare for this, Wrisley has been hitting with other high-level tennis players and training his fitness. He will continue to take lessons in order to get ready for his college season.
“College tennis is a very physically demanding sport, and generally everyone is going to hit bigger and better than in high school,” Wrisley said.
Wrisley got recruited by attending a recruit camp, where he said he played above himself, and the coach was impressed with his aggressiveness.
Other colleges Wrisley had considered were IU East, University of Saint Francis, Franklin College, and Milligan University. Wrisley only had one meeting with Saint Francis and some communication with the coaches, so he went with Johnson.
Although tennis is a fun aspect of going to college, he is mostly looking forward to creating new friendships and adapting to campus life.
Senior soccer player Zion Griffis recently committed to IU East in Richmond, Ind.
“I chose IU East because of the size of the school and because it’s free for me and I still get to play soccer,” Griffis said.
He considered other options such as Anderson University, Taylor University, University of Southern Indiana, and Defiance College in Ohio.
To prepare, he’s been lifting, getting in shape, and has been trying to play a lot of soccer.
He got noticed by IU East from going to a camp, and then the coach got back to him after. He went on an actual visit to the school and got offered shortly after that.
“I’m looking forward to getting away a little bit and making friends through a sport again,” Griffis said.
Zion has not done anything with the IU East soccer team yet. He will start participating with them in the early summer.
Senior golfer Javin Kile recently committed to Hanover College in Madison, Ind.
“It was a school that was on my list, and I knew I wanted to go to a science program and they offered me a chance to play golf so that’s why I have decided to go there,” Kile said.
Kile plans to major in biology.
Other colleges Kile considered were Indiana University and Butler, but those did not work out in the way he wanted them to.
Adapting to being a college athlete won’t be that much of a difference for Kile.
“We only will have a two-hour practice every night, like six nights a week,” he said,
He is mostly excited about traveling and being able to play different golf courses.
“I showed interest on the application to golf and then I got a phone call from one of the coaches to talk about some of the aspects of the game and went from there,” he said.