MacKenzie Dunlap has yet to have a practice for the Kankakee Valley softball team and coach Brian Flynn. But the power-hitting middle infielder already has her college commitment confirmed.
Dunlap, a member of the Kougars girls basketball team, verbally committed to play softball for coach Kate Drohan at Northwestern.
Some standout performances with the Beverly Bandits 14-and-under travel softball team opened this door of opportunity. Two visits to Evanston was all the ninth-grader needed.
"It was awesome," Dunlap said on Tuesday. "The girls on the team and the coaches were great. I knew this was the place I wanted to play."
Ohio State had also offered Dunlap, and she was high on Michigan's recruiting sheet as well. But the honor roll student wanted to attend a college was a great academic history. -- Steve Hanlon
A simple twist of fate: Bowman Academy wide receiver Laron Golden verballed to play football at Northern Illinois in Sept. of 2012. The goal of playing for one of America's top mid-major programs was realized.
Then, Huskies coach Dave Doeren left to take the position at North Carolina State, and it was time for Golden to start the recruiting process all over again.
"I didn't fit what the new coaching staff was looking for in a wide receiver," said Golden, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound defensive back as well.
Golden, though, became his school's first Division I recruit in football on Wednesday when he signed on at Austin Peay University. He will be a roommate of Morton's David Wall.
"Everything worked out great," Golden said. "If one door shuts another one opens. I'm very excited about this opportunity and can't wait to get to Tennessee." -- Steve Hanlon
Big game cancelled: The Bowman Academy-Chicago Curie game that was supposed to be played in the Windy City last Saturday night never happened. And it had nothing to do with the weather.
"They didn't want to play us, so they dropped out," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said. "They moved up to No. 2 in the nation in some polls and they said playing us was too risky." -- Steve Hanlon
Twin sisters avoid tension: Chesterton freshman Andrea Hanas and her twin sister Alexys each played in the state golf finals last fall.
Things are different this winter. Andrea is swimming in the 50- and 100-yard free for the state No. 3-ranked Trojans this weekend at the Chesterton Sectional. Alexys has been unable to crack the starting lineup.
Andrea said Alexys' pet event is the 100 fly. Sophomore teammate Vanessa Krause owns the state's top-posted time in the fly (53.88).
The twins have an understanding which takes away the friction.
"We're kind of competitive, but we both have our strong and weak points," Andrea said. "(Alexys) does train hard.
"We're there to help each other out." -- Jim Hunsley