Euphoria set in for Jill Morrison on Wednesday when she put ink to paper.
Morrison signed her national letter of intent to play basketball for Ball State in a ceremony at the Winchester Field House with coaches, family and friends there to witness her monumental moment.
“I’m almost as excited as when I verballed,” Morrison said. “I achieved a goal I’ve had. I’m going to play Division-I basketball. I’m just really blessed to experience this.”
The Winchester senior shooting guard pledged her allegiance to former Ball State head coach Kelly Packard last year. Morrison briefly re-opened her recruitment after Packard resigned, but when the Cardinals hired Brady Sallee as their head coach in May, she recommitted to the program.
“When Coach Sallee called me, he was like, ‘hey I’m your new coach,'” Morrison said. “I said, ‘OK,’ and when I went over there, I was like, ‘yeah, this is where I should be.’ Since then, I’ve never thought I made the wrong decision.”
Morrison said her focus is now on her senior campaign, and her goal is to lead Winchester to its first girls basketball state title.
She set two notable school records last season as a junior. Morrison broke the record for points in a season with 651 and points in single game with 41.
Morrison is one of seven area athletes signing national letters of intent over the course of eight days.
Arguably the best in that group, New Castle senior baseball phenom Trey Ball, said he intends to sign after school today to play at the University of Texas.
Ball orally committed to the Longhorns after his unofficial visit last year. He took his official visit to the campus last month, and he said the trip only further solidified his commitment.
“It’s been my dream college since I was a little kid,” Ball said. “To finally get to sign and make that dream come true is a real honor.”
Whether or not Ball actually plays for the Longhorns will probably be determined after the 2013 Major League Baseball first-year player draft. The 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher/outfielder is projected to be a first-round selection in virtually all of the mock drafts and a top-10 selection by some prognosticators.
“It’s a big decision I’ll have to make when the time comes,” Ball said. “I’m just working out and trying to keep it off my mind.”
Scouts for Major League Baseball organizations are in contact with Ball and some have already stopped by the house to spend time with him and his family. He said a scout stopping by the house has become a weekly occurrence.
Ball put up monster numbers both at the plate and on the mound in his junior campaign for New Castle. He hit .434 with five home runs and 27 RBIs in 83 at-bats, and he posted a 6-2 record with a 1.45, 75 strikeouts and 16 walks in 53 innings pitched.
* Delta senior Austin Conway wasted no time signing his national letter of intent to play baseball next year at Indiana State.
The signing period started at 8 a.m. Wednesday, and Conway sent his signed papers back via email at 8:05 a.m.
Conway just notched All-Hoosier Heritage Conference honors in football, but he said baseball is his sport of choice, and he jumped on the opportunity to play for an NCAA Division I program in Indiana State.
The Sycamores recruited Conway as a pitcher. He appeared in 13 games and tossed 521/3 innings for Delta last season. He posted a 4-4 record with a 3.88 ERA and struck out 87 batters with 33 walks.
* Tara Clark contributed to Yorktown winning the second girls golf state championship in school history this fall. Next up for her is NCAA Division I golf.
The Yorktown senior plans to sign at the University of Northern Kentucky this morning in a ceremony at the Yorktown Athletic Hospitality Room.
Clark fired a 73 at sectional, and she carded a 76 in the final round of the state finals.
* Fellow Yorktown senior Jessica Extine is orally committed to swim at Ball State. Yorktown athletic director Dan Wolfert said Extine will sign her national letter of intent after Thanksgiving.
Extine swam on the Yorktown 200-yard freestyle relay, which placed 15th at the state finals last season. She swam on the 200-yard medley relay that advanced to state, too.
* Burris senior outside hitter Ari Anderson plans to sign to play at Tennessee State, a Division I program in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Anderson orally committed to the Tigers in the summer. Former Central assistant and Munciana Volleyball Club coach Peter Chang now assists at Tennessee State, and he coached Anderson when she played on his Munciana 14-2s team.
The Burris senior averaged 4.11 kills per set before a knee injury sidelined her early in her senior season. She played in only 27 sets for the Owls. The Burris senior tore her meniscus and broke off some cartilage in her left knee in practice when she came down wrong. Anderson underwent successful surgery Oct. 3.
* Central senior outside hitter Jaydn’ Pegues said she intends to sign to play at IPFW sometime in the next week.
IPFW offers a nationally recognized dental hygiene program that swayed Pegues to choose the Mastodons over other finalists Ball State and IUPUI. Another former Central star, Tessa McGill, is a senior libero at IPFW.
Pegues notched Class 4A All-State First-Team honors for the second consecutive season. She topped the Bearcats in kills with 561 and ranked second in digs with 321.