The Next Step

The Next Step

By Kaden Crist 

Every year, seniors fill out college applications. With around 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States to consider, deciding your future can be tough. But for some students the option of colleges isn’t only for academics, but also for athletics.

For many this decision can be scary, but others find it flattering. 

At Delta High School, there are currently seven senior student-athletes who have committed to play a sport in college. 

One of these athletes, Abram Stitt, signed with Youngstown State University to do long jump and high jump at an NCAA Division 1 level. He is currently the only one to commit to a D1 college.

“(Being committed) is pretty cool. I feel honored to be the first Division 1 athlete signing at our school with so many different athletes,” Stitt said. “It’s just cool being able to be the first this year.”

Family at signing
Senior Abram Stitt is surrounded by family after signing his NCAA Division 1 letter of intent to jump at Youngstown State University. (Photo by Kaden Crist)

Stitt had four different offers, being the top-ranked senior long jumper in Indiana, but Youngstown State in eastern Ohio was the most appealing for him.

“The environment of the school was pretty close knit,” Stitt said. “Everybody seemed to enjoy each other and always wanted to be with each other, so I felt like I would fit in at this school and it would be right for me.”

Youngstown State is one of the nation’s top track teams in the jumping events.

Another one of the seven athletes committed is senior cross country and track and field runner Clay Batio, who signed with Trine University, an NCAA D3 school in northeastern Indiana. 

“I chose Trine mainly because the campus is really small,” Batio said. “I like that aspect because you almost know where everything is. Then the town that it is in (Angola) is kind of like Muncie. It’s got similar stores, and it just kind of felt more like home. The scenery there is also very nice and it’s an easy drive.” 

Clay with friends
Friends of senior Clay Batio celebrate with him at his signing ceremony. He is going to run at Trine University. (Photo by Kaden Crist)

These are some of the reasons he chose Trine University over any other college. He thinks this will be best for him because this relates to his childhood and feels closer to home.

“The toughest thing is when multiple colleges look at me and talk to me,” Batio said. “I was up in the air with Anderson and Trine and because both coaches really wanted me to go there to run it was definitely up in the air with that. You also don’t want to be rude so it was kind of hard with that.” 

Sometimes athletes have to choose from multiple offers so it can get to be a tough decision for them. They have to consider all of the options and what could be waiting for them at each college. 

“I think the toughest thing was finding what school is best for me,” senior Blake Jones said.

He was a cornerback for the football team this past season and has now decided to take his talents on the field and in the classroom to DePauw University, an NCAA D3 school in Greencastle, Ind. 

“I am looking forward to graduating from DePauw and getting the opportunity to play football at the (collegiate) level,” Jones said.

Unlike all the other boys that have committed, there is a girl golfer. Senior Gracie Williams committed to NAIA school IU-East in Richmond, Ind., for golf.  

Gracie signs
Under the watchful of her parents, senior Gracie Williams signs to play golf at IU-East.

“I’m looking forward to playing golf probably the most, but I think the team is super fun and I am excited to compete at that high of a level,” Williams said.

There are many reasons for students to be excited, but then there are also some nerves about committing and playing sports at such a high level, and just being with a new team. 

“I think it just makes me want to work more,” Williams said. “At the end of golf season normally I just take a break, but going into college I have to keep it up year round and just put in more work than I normally do.”

Gaige with hats
Senior Gaige Winchester sits among his many baseball caps. He signed with Trine University for baseball. (Photo by Tim Cleland)

Other athletes who have committed in recent times are Gaige Winchester for baseball at Trine University, Jackson King for baseball at NAIA school Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, and Riley Bratton for men’s golf at IU-East.

Jackson and family
Senior Jackson King and family members pose with assistant coach Jacob VanPelt and athletic director Tilmon Clark at his December signing. He will play baseball at Central Methodist University in Missouri.

These are the mindsets they have and how they are going to work harder and push themselves more at a higher level. 

January 5, 2023

About Author

Kaden Crist

kadencrist Kaden Crist is a freshman at Delta High School. He plays baseball and tennis for Delta. He also likes the Colts and the Dodgers.


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