Many college swim programs would be a great fit for Evann Heidersbach, but the Elyria Catholic senior finally decided Ohio State was the perfect fit.
Heidersbach orally committed to Ohio State on Thursday and announced her intentions at the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame banquet Saturday. Heidersbach plans to sign her letter of intent at Elyria Catholic as soon as the paperwork arrives from OSU.
“I was so torn. It was such a hard decision,” said Heidersbach. “I loved the coaches, loved the teams of all the schools I was seriously considering. With OSU, I just felt a very good connection. Ultimately, that’s what it came down to.”
Her decision came down to Denison, Chicago, Virginia, William & Mary and the Buckeyes.
Heidersbach officially visited Ohio State on April 25, going straight to Columbus from a track meet in Loudonville.
“When I finally decided that it was Ohio State, I just felt this huge weight lift off of my shoulders,” said Heidersbach. “I didn’t even realize how much stress it was putting on me. Gosh, afterwards I felt I was on Cloud 9.”
Bill Dorenkott, a Westlake native, is in his first year as OSU coach. He is a 1991 graduate of Cleveland State and led OSU to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten.
“Evann connected with so many teams,” said her mom, Annie. “She had a very good experience with her college search. It came down to affordability, too, but she wouldn’t have gone anywhere where she didn’t feel connected.
“It all came together last week with a lot of soul searching and a lot of tears.”
Heidersbach had a tough time squeezing in visits because of commitments to swimming, track and cross country at EC. She also swims for the Vermilion Y program.
“I think it’s going to be great,” said Heidersbach, who has a 4.1-grade-point average. “I’m so excited to swim in the Big Ten. I’m a hop, skip and a jump away from home. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Heidersbach made All-Ohio (top 16) 16 times in her career at Elyria Catholic.
“Evann swam in Ohio State’s natatorium numerous times in the past,” said EC coach Jack Dibee. “Just knowing the success of the program is exciting and motivating for her.”
Heidersbach set a district record in winning her second straight Division II title in the 50 free (23.63) and set another school record while winning the 100 free (51.41). It was those two performances at Cleveland State that really caught the attention of the OSU coaching staff.
“When they saw her results I was contacted by one of the Ohio State coaches the very next day,” Dibee said.
Despite a very bad head cold at the state meet, Heidersbach was fifth in the 50 free (24.40) and eighth in the 100 free (54.78).
Elyria Hall of Fame committee member Amy (Schloss) Yates introduced Heidersbach as a scholarship recipient at the banquet. Ironically, Yates was her first swim instructor 14 years ago at the Elyria Y.
“Evann started taking swim lessons at the Y at age 4,” said Annie. “When Evann was 7, Amy asked Evann if she had ever given any thought about competing for the Y team. I remember Evann standing there and her eyes got wide and she said, ‘Not really. I wouldn’t want to beat anybody and I wouldn’t want anybody to beat me.’
“We just encouraged Evann to give it a try and she really liked it.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or email@example.com.