Amherst senior Taylor Hooks has a long list of accomplishments on the track that have earned her many fans, even more medals and the attention of many college coaches.
On Wednesday, they also officially earned a scholarship to Oakland (Mich.) University.
Hooks was one of a number of local athletes to take part in national signing day ceremonies at their respective schools.
A two-time state qualifier and two-time district champion in the 100-meter dash, Hooks is expecting to run the 100, 200 and 1,600-meter relay at Oakland, a member of the Horizon League along with Cleveland State University.
“I was extremely excited,” Hooks said after signing in front of friends, family and teammates in the school’s Creative Learning Center. “I didn’t expect as many people to be here to support me. I’m very excited to be going to college.”
With her senior season just about to begin, Hooks has more she wants to do at Amherst before she heads to college.
“I want to go to state and place at state, indoor and outdoor,” she said. “I also want to win the Lorain County championship and an SWC title again.”
At Avon, Nathan Brooks (baseball) and Noah Lindon (soccer) were among four student-athletes who took part in a signing ceremony.
Brooks, a shortstop for the Eagles, is headed to the University of Findlay.
“I visited the campus and they had everything I wanted,” he said. “I loved the coach and players and they offered me a quite generous scholarship package. Of course I thought about wanting to go somewhere warm but I knew I had to stay somewhere close by so my parents could come and watch me play. That was really important to me.”
Brooks said the lessons he learned as part of Avon’s district title team during his sophomore year helped him become better on and off the field.
“The seniors on that team showed me what’s its like to be a leader and how far leadership can get you in the playoffs,” Brooks said. “It taught me how important it is to become a leader.”
Lindon, a second-team All-Ohio defender for Avon’s district championship team last fall, will be staying even closer to home, continuing his career at Notre Dame College.
At Elyria, Malik Holt and Dylan Gill signed at Walsh and Ashland.
During the same ceremony, Alex Heighberger (soccer) and Kevin Reddinger (baseball) declared their intentions to play at the University of Mount Union. Ramiah Wallace will be playing soccer at Shawnee State, an NAIA school in Portsmouth.
“It’s been a lot of stress to pick a school that’s right for me and I think I found that at Walsh,” Holt said. “It’s felt great to be able to make it official. Walsh has my (business) major and that was the most important thing, and the coaches seem like they want to work with me to help me to become a better player.”
Gill said he has been thinking about playing college baseball since he first picked up the game.
“It was always a dream of mine to play college baseball and when I got my offer from Ashland it really kicked in that it’s real,” he said. “Then today, sitting on that stage, I realized my dream is a reality and it felt so good.”