Special to the Tribune-Star
WABASH VALLEY —
An impressive total of at least 122 Wabash Valley athletes and coaches will be competing collegiately for the first time during the upcoming school year or have changed schools to continue their careers.
The list accompanying is as accurate as possible, and any additions or corrections are welcome at the e-mail address at the end of the column.
Things always change, though, and it’s always possible that some of the people listed may have made alternate plans since originally signing or committing.
Two examples of how things go in college sports come from the Terre Haute North girls basketball program.
Outstanding incoming senior Nicole Anderson verbally committed to Bowling Green earlier this year, but has re-opened her recruitment after BGSU Coach Curt Miller was hired at Indiana.
Anderson has heard from Oklahoma State and Ball State, among others, and will undoubtedly find a solid home at the D-I level.
Ironically, Miller still wound up with a Valley player at Indiana after Clay City’s Carmela Roeschlein made the Hoosier squad this summer as a walk-on.
Recent North grad Morgan Seeley originally planned to play basketball at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill., but in the meantime received an outstanding academic scholarship to Indiana State and is going to attend school there.
Here are comments from a few more of those athletes and/or their college or prep coaches:
• Cody Gardner, Terre Haute North, baseball at Wright State – Gardner visited Wright State last month and committed to play for Coach Rob Cooper at the D-I school in Dayton, Ohio, that competes in the Horizon League.
He also considered Marshall, Tennessee-Martin, Eastern Illinois, Western Illinois and many junior colleges.
“Wright State is the perfect fit for me,” Gardner said. “Coach Cooper's program provides the best script that I can write for myself as a student athlete in college. I look forward to beginning my collegiate career at Wright State.”
Gardner, an infielder, completed an outstanding career at North last spring by being named to the all-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference team for the second straight year. Ranked 14th in his graduating class of more than 400 students, Gardner also earned Academic All-State honors this year.
North Coach Shawn Turner appreciates the contributions that Gardner has made to his program.
“Cody Gardner has provided our program with a hard-nosed, get-after-it approach for four years now,” Turner said. “He consistently shows up to play and lead by example. His many contributions often show in the box scores throughout our lineup as his approach affects the rest of the guys who are playing.”
• Tyeson Mundy, Terre Haute North, cross country at Indiana – Mundy had an outstanding career at North with four appearances in the state finals, finishing 25th in the 2010 state meet and 32nd in 2011. His PR in the 3,200 meters in track is 9:25.00.
“Tyeson was very, very good during most of the cross country season this fall and has shown the potential to develop into a very good distance runner,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “While he has a lot of work yet to do, we think the desire and motivation to succeed are there and in time he will make a significant contribution to our success both in cross country and on the track."
• Jorden Brown, West Vigo, volleyball at Millikin – Brown earned three varsity letters in volleyball as a setter at West Vigo High School where she also lettered in basketball three times. As a junior, Brown set a school record for most consecutive serves with 18. As a senior, she was team captain and earned All-Conference and All-Wabash Valley honors.
“Jorden is a solid setter and server with good quickness and knowledge of the game,” said Millikin Coach Debbie Kiick. “I am looking forward to the contributions she can make to our program.”
• Chelsea Whitesell, Terre Haute South, softball at Grace – Whitesell is expected to play third base or catcher for Grace, an NAIA school in northern Indiana.
“Grace is a beautiful school and has everything I ever wanted,” Whitesell said. “The size is perfect, the teachers are wonderful and I can achieve all my goals there. I want to be a great asset to the softball team while working towards my degree.”
South Coach Steve Woerner will miss having Whitesell’s services but sees good things for her at the next level.
“Chelsea has been a great pleasure to have on our team,” he said. “She has a terrific attitude and is a hard worker.
“She is a team-first type of player who leads by example,” Woerner added. “She can play a number of positions and has a big bat.”
Joey Bennett can be reached at email@example.com.