AVON LAKE — There are several student-athletes that can finally exhale.
Making it official Wednesday, Avon Lake’s Tyler Nock, Wyatt Ohm, David Winkel, Logan Montague, Seth Muck and Emily Krause can all breathe a little easier after signing letters of intent to continue their athletic careers at the next level.
The process wasn’t easy as the athletes visited multiple colleges and talked to several coaches before making their decisions.
Muck has one of the most inspirational stories. He was diagnosed with dyslexia in fourth grade, but was able to overcome that obstacle to land a collegiate scholarship at Grove City College, where he’ll play basketball.
“When I was first diagnosed, I remember my mom showing me a list of a whole bunch of celebrities and famous people that were successful who had this,” said Muck, who was recently nominated for the Most Inspirational Athlete award by the USA Today and placed fifth nationally. “I knew then that this wouldn’t set me back. I could still do what I wanted to do.”
Muck was also featured Tuesday night on WKYC Channel 3 as an Inspirational Athlete and was interviewed by Jimmy Donovan.
He’s proud of what he’s accomplished and looks forward to joining his new team.
“I hung out with their players and I really like them,” said Muck, who will major in communications. “The campus feel in general was really nice. It’s a good academic school so that helped make my decision.”
Winkel will continue his baseball career at Ashland University. The decision was tough for Winkel, who was being recruited for baseball and football.
“I had to sit down with my parents and make a tough decision whether I should go for baseball or football,” said Winkel, who will major in business. “I went to practices. I went to different schools and for some reason I fell in love with Ashland.
“It feels like a monkey just got thrown off my back. Going on visits every weekend and talking to all these coaches was really stressful. Now this is all done, I’m stress free. Now I can just worry about getting my batting average up and having a good season.”
Montague will also continue his baseball career at Bethany College.
“From an academic standpoint, it’s a great college and a great fit for me,” said Montague, who will major in biology and marine biology. “Baseball-wise, I love the coaching staff. I love the guys on the team. I had a great time with the team. They made me feel right at home. Bethany really stood out when I went to visit. It’s a great relief knowing that you’re going to get to continue playing for another four years.”
Ohm will continue his football career at the University of Dayton. He considered Ohio State and Ohio University academically, but being able to play football was the difference-maker.
“I’m definitely relieved,” said Ohm, who will play running back and major in engineering. “I felt like this was the right fit for me, academically, socially and athletically definitely. I can see myself having a great future there.”
Nock and Krause will continue their diving careers in college with Nock choosing Ball State University and Krause deciding on Grove City College.
“I wanted to go to school out of state so I can kind of get away,” said Nock, who will major in biology and pre-dentistry. “When I visited there, I really liked the campus, the setting and everything about it. I hung out with the team. They were really welcoming. I felt like I was a part of the team when I was there. I really wanted to dive at the D-I level in college. I’m extremely relieved and real excited for it.”
Krause had the option of going to Ohio State or Bowling Green, but decided on Grove City because she’ll have a chance to dive.
“I like that it’s a small Christian college in Pennsylvania,” Krause said. “I’m excited about studying biology in a Christian setting. I love the sport of diving and once the option came up that I was going to get to still dive in college, I knew what choice I was going to make.”
Witt picks Bowling Green
Magnificat’s Emily Witt, a Grafton native, will continue her tennis career at Bowling Green.
Witt also considered Cincinnati, schools in Florida and all over the United States. She talked to several coaches and weighed all of her options before choosing Bowling Green. The deciding factor was head coach Penny Dean.
“I’ll never forget calling coach Dean to tell her that I decided on going there, it was such a huge sigh of relief,” said Witt, who will major in biology. “Bowling Green is such a good tennis program and coach Dean is amazing.
“I always knew I wanted to play college tennis. I’ve been getting ready for college play my four years of high school with competitive play plus with all the tournaments I’ve played in. That’s all prepared me for playing at the college level.
“The process of choosing a college was a lot of work. You really have to explore your options. It’s not just about the team. It’s how you fit at the school academically and socially. It was really hard to find that balance. I had a lot of offers from schools, some really far away and a couple in Ohio, so it was tough narrowing it down.”
Witt was a three-time state qualifier for the Blue Streaks. She lost a first-round match her sophomore season, but made it to the quarterfinals her junior year before losing to the eventual state champion. Last season, she lost in the first round to the eventual state champion.
In other signings, Avon announced that Howard Walters has committed to continue his football career at Bluffton University.
Lutheran West also had three athletes sign letters of intent. Eric Szczepinski will continue his baseball career at Walsh University, Christopher Scott will continue his basketball career at Siena Heights University (Adrian, Mich.) and Sam Shick will continue his football career at Concordia University (Ann Arbor, Mich).
Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.