Hegner, Wallace, Merritt pick college paths

Hegner, Wallace, Merritt pick college paths

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Hegner, Wallace, Merritt pick college paths

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BERLIN

Creighton University has an All-American on its men’s basketball roster in Doug McDermott.

Toby Hegner hopes to give them another one someday.

The Berlin senior standout signed his National Letter of Intent recently to join the Bluejays program next fall with the hope of one filling McDermott’s shoes.

“I knew at Creighton, when Doug left, they need someone to fill in and I want to be that guy,” the 6-foot-10, 220-pound Hegner said. “I was looking for a spot where I could come in and show people how good I really am.”

Hegner, who had his signing at Berlin High School, had made his decision over the summer but had to wait for the signing period to make it official. He was glad to get it done.

“It was an indescribable feeling,” Hegner said. “Just with all of the scholarships getting them and everything, it’s a feeling I can’t describe.”

Creighton coach Greg McDermott was also very pleased to welcome Hegner, who was one of three players the Bluejays signed.

“Toby is a very skilled big man who has the ability to stretch the defense with his perimeter shooting yet also possess nice moves around the rim,” McDermott said in a release on the school’s website. “He had a great summer and is continuing to work hard to develop his body. He will be able to play multiple positions for us and we believe that his best basketball is ahead of him.”

Making his decision early didn’t happen by accident, either.

Hegner had the plan to get it done early so he could turn his attention to his final season at Berlin.

“That was my main goal,” Hegner said. “I wanted to get it done before season and then we could focus on my senior season and have a good senior season and not have to worry about where I’m going to go.”

Hegner, who had been recruited by a large number of NCAA Division I and Division II programs from around the country, said he liked everything about the situation at Creighton.

But there was one facet of the school, located in Omaha, Neb., that “got me over the edge.

“The thing that got me was the fan base. It was nuts out there,” said Hegner, who has attended a handful of games. “They average 15,000-plus a game I want to play in front of a big crowd and on TV. When it came to Creighton, I knew this was the school for me.”

But it will have to wait as his senior season with the Indians is underway. Yet, he is already preparing for being a part of the Bluejays’ program.

“Building mass right now. I’m in the gym four to five days a week. That’s what they want and so it’s a big thing we’re trying to concentrate on,” Hegner said. “I’m happy it’s over. I’m happy I found a home. I’m happy to be a part of the Bluejay family for sure.”

Kelly Wallace

Oshkosh West senior Kelly Wallace found exactly what she was looking for in a college and a softball program at Ohio Dominican University.

And when the NCAA Division II school, located in Columbus, Ohio, offered a scholarship to continue her career there, she jumped at the chance to attend.

“It’s really cool. Really rewarding,” said Wallace, who signed her National Letter of Intent last week at West End Pizza in Oshkosh. “I visited a couple of other colleges and the campus really fit in with what I was looking for.”

Ohio Dominican moved up to the Division II level prior to the 2011 season and finished 14-36 in its inaugural campaign and then went 26-28 last year, including 20-12 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Wallace also considered Tennessee Tech, Bowling Green, Ohio State and Western Illinois before deciding on Ohio Dominican. And she was glad to get the decision out of the way before starting her senior season.

“It’s a lot easier,” Wallace said. “You’re not spending time trying to impress people and are spending more time working on your individual skills and just knowing what you need to do to fit into a specific program.”

Wallace serves has been the varsity catcher for the Wildcats since her freshman season and hopes to continue that at the collegiate level.

Yet, she knows that may not be the case and is already taking steps to broaden her skills.

“As a freshman, you never really know where they are going to put you because it’s your first year,” Wallace said. “When I came to campus, they said they are going to try to work me in at catcher right away, but they also want me to practice at third base with my travelling team and high school team.”

So that’s given her some things to work on before next fall.

“I definitely want to work on my hitting,” Wallace said. “And then just getting used to playing other positions.”

Audrey Merritt

Audrey Merritt won’t be the first member of the Oshkosh Gymnastics Center to attend college at Western Michigan University.

And that’s part of the reason she ended up there.

“One of my teammates (Shelly Adams) from OGC ended up going there,” said Merritt, who attends Kaukauna High School. “She encouraged me to apply there and then after I went there, I loved the campus and the coach and the gymnasts.

“It will be really nice to have her there. I’m used to my big sister helping me out with all of that and she’ll be able to take her place in college and show me all of that stuff.”

Merritt, who signed her National Letter of Intent in a ceremony at the OGC recently, did look at other programs during the recruiting process but Western Michigan was the only campus she visited.

And it didn’t take long for her mind to be made up.

“I was sold on (Western Michigan) pretty fast,” Merritt said. “It was nice knowing so early on. All my friends are running around trying to get everything in and are worried, and I can just relax and know I’m done with it.”

Now that her decision is made, Merritt can focus on her gymnastics and get them ready for the collegiate level.

“Definitely I have to work on form,” Merritt said. “I have most of my tricks down that I’ll need to go there, but everything needs cleaning.”

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