2011 College Signings: Why They Chose Their Schools


College signings are always interesting to see, but everybody wonders why one athlete chose one schol and why another athlete chose a different school.  Inside you will find out why certain athletes chose the school that they did in their own words. 


Let OHRunners know where you will be competing in college by sending an email to jimfindlay1@gmail.com.  Be sure to include your name, your high school, your college choice and your specialty or specialties (such as distance, XC, sprints, hurdles, pole vault, high jump, horizontal jumps, or throws).  If you signed a National Letter of Intent, please include a picture of you signing or at the very least, a picture of you wearing gear form your chosen school.


Click here to see the Full Ohio Signing List on our newly redesigned Signings Page - this list will be updated continuously updates as more information becomes available.


Click here to see the Full National Signing List - this will also be continuously updated as more information becomes available.


Jackie Leppelmeier on why she chose Kent State University


"I chose to continue my academic and track and field career at Kent State University because it was the right fit for me. I felt very comfortable on campus and with the track and field team. I plan on majoring in health sciences, which I know is a solid program there. Coach Nathan Fanger, throws coach, and Coach Bill Lawson, head coach, are not only great coaches, they are great people too. The people at Kent State University create a great environment that will help me thrive at the next level of my career."


Blake Taneff on why he chose Ohio State University



"I chose to continue my education and athletic career at the Ohio State University because I know so many people who have gone there and loved their experience. I feel at home on campus, I like the classes and I believe the education OSU provides is top notch for the midwest.  Because I grew up in Columbus I've seen the glamour and excitement that comes with OSU athletics and I've wanted to be part of that since my freshman year."




Mattie Moncayo on why she chose Miami University


"I chose to sign with Miami University. Making this decision was not one that I ever saw coming. My mom encouraged me to email the coach and see where it got me. After contacting Coach Kelly, the head women's cross country and track coach, I could tell she was the type of coach I was looking for. I am very close with my high school coach, Denise Benson, so finding a coach that I could see myself trusting and creating a bond with was my number one priority. As I started to realize what a dedicated and sincere coach Coach Kelly is, I started researching the team's results and found out how successful they are. Finding a successful team who truly cares about racing just as I do was another top priority.

A couple months after my season had ended Coach Kelly invited me on an official visit. That official visit is what did it for me. My athlete hosts were so nice and personable and made me feel so welcome. The team is not only talented, but also loving towards one another and truly acts like a "family-team." What more could I ask for? The university is well-respected and beautiful and possesses everything I have ever wanted in a school and team."




Brad Szypka on why he chose the University of Kentucky



"I knew on the ride home from my official visit that I would be continuing my education and throwing career at the University of Kentucky. Their academics and campus are top notch. The CATS Center is amazing and the “Southern Hospitality” can’t be beat. It just felt like home. Coach Doug Reynolds and Head Coach Don Weber are awesome coaches that have put together a great program with a family feel. UK has great facilities and coaching to help me succeed at the Next Level."



Allison Steinbeck on why she chose Taylor University

"There was no hesitation in my college decision. Taylor University has always been the university I wanted to pursue my education and cross country and track careers. When I first met the new head cross country coach, Quinn White, and my future teammates, I had no doubt Taylor was for me. His running philosophy and high expectations in the near future for the program stole my heart immediately. Everything about Taylor, the distance from home, small rural community, the strong academics and the Christian environment will ensure my success at the collegiate level. I look forward to being a part of the Taylor family!"



AJ Hicks on why he chose the University of North Carolina


"I chose to continue my education and track and field career at the University of North Carolina for numerous reasons. I feel that the university will not only make me a better athlete, but also a better student. I plan on heading down the Pre-Med track and UNC is one of the top public universities in which to pursue that field. I was especially impressed with all of the academic help that I could receive as an athlete. Also, all of the staff and athletes welcomed me with open arms. Coach Langley and his current group of throwers made me feel right at home during my visit. I fell in love with the campus and the high quality of people in the city of Chapel Hill. Overall, I believe that I can reach all of my athletic and academic goals as a Tar Heel."


Ali Tolich on why she chose Ashland University


"There were many factors that led me to decide on attending Ashland University. First off, the small school environment I believe best suits me and the campus just feels like home. The fact that the university is Division II did not affect my decision whatsoever. In addition, Ashland throwers have an amazing legacy with countless All-Americans and Olympians coming out of the program; furthermore, the upbeat and intense atmosphere really drew me in and the idea of being part of a large crew really appeals to me. All of these attributes, along with really connecting with Coach Logan, contributed to the decision on Ashland."



Todd Christy on why he chose the Clemson University


"Clemson University was my top choice of colleges for many different reasons. One important reason was the track facility they have on campus. They have one of the most impressive athletic facilities I have seen. Clemson has a top of the line weight room as well as throwing facility. Their highly ranked Academic and mentoring program showed me the importance they place on the student athlete. 

Aside from the impressive facilities Clemson also has top of the line coaches and trainers. During practice the coaches are encouraging and certainly know what they are doing. Outside of practice it felt like a family which is a quality that is very important to me. Coach Cobey and Coach Johnson made me feel welcome and at home during my visit and I'm sure once I'm on campus it will be the same. From the coaches to the athletes, they made me feel that I will be an important part of the team in the years to come. I thought hands down Clemson was the place for me".


Michelle Thomas on why she chose Ohio State University


"I chose to attend The Ohio State University for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons was I didn't want to go to far away from home because I wanted to still be able to see my family and for them to be able to see me run. Another main factor was the fact that this is my home state, I think there is something to be said for that. I have ran in Ohio my whole life, I have ran at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at the state track meet and to be able to continue to run there gives you a sense of pride that I don't think I would have if I went out of state. I also really liked the girls on the Cross Country team, the day I went up for my official visit I felt right at home, I knew then that I could see myself going there and running with those girls as my future teammates! Coach Neal also seems like the type of coach I want in college, he wants to push his athletes to be the best that they can be and he wants to accomplish big goals! Ohio State also has a very good education program and you can graduate with your masters all at once which seemed like a plus. After considering all these things about Ohio State I knew that this was the college where I wanted to continue not only my education but my running career! I can't wait to attend The Ohio State University and to be able to say that I am a BUCKEYE!!!!"


Michael Brajdic on why he chose Ohio State University


"I chose to attend Ohio State for a variety of reasons. My parents and I were impressed with Coach Gary, especially that he has a general plan made already for my first few years. He made me feel like I could be a big contributor not only in the Big 10, but nationally.  He does a great deal of planning not only towards collegiate success, but a post-collegiate running career. The guys on the team were really easy to get along with, and I loved the fact that I'd be able to train with all the guys I had looked up to since freshman year. The pride that comes with not only representing Ohio State, but all of Ohio was a big pull for me. I liked the trend of keeping Ohio guys in Ohio as well.

Academically, I couldn't go wrong either. Ohio State's plethora of majors, and nationally ranked majors made it the complete choice. Lastly, when I heard Dan White was coming back I couldn't really pass an opportunity like that up." 



Megan Monte on why she chose Bowling Green State University

"I chose Bowling Green State University because I felt that it was the best fit for me. I first visited the campus last summer and immediately felt comfortable. Academically, they have so much to offer and I feel can excel there. Then in November, I went on an official visit and got to meet the team. They’re a bunch of really great girls that made me feel like a part of a big family. Coach Paulson also helped in my decision. I feel that she can make me the best runner that I can be."


Zach Wills on why he chose Okalhomas State University



"I knew when I went to Oklahoma State that it was the place for me. For a long time, I had been praying to God to make my decision clear. Throughout the process, Coach Dave Smith had really left an impact on my coaches and me. He was not only a successful coach, but also left an impact on his runners and had a great relationship with his top guys and his bottom guys.


On my official visit it seemed that both the girl’s and the boy’s team were united as a family and everyone got along really well. I have the same atmosphere on my HS team and that was one of the most important aspects in making my decision. I wanted to be somewhere would I could be comfortable being myself, had a chance at a team national title, and a place where I could have a great relationship with my coach and my team. OK State had all the things I was looking for in a school and more. The more college visits I went on, the longer I had to think about the decision, the more I grew in love with the school.


I wanted a place where I could be challenged in all areas of my life physically, spiritually and mentally. Physically I am running with the top returning cross-country team in the nation. There are guys that are going to push me everyday in practice, making me a better runner. Mentally, they have a good business college and have had some very successful business tycoons emerge from their university. Spiritually, there are fellow Christians on the team that will help me keep accountable and grow in my faith. The team is culturally diverse and teammates come from literally countries all over the world.  They have a passion for running in common that unifies them and I thought it would be easier to be far away from home with other runners in my same situation. I am so happy to be a cowboy and couldn't see myself next year in any other college town other than Stillwater, any other colors than orange, black and white or with any team and staff than with the Oklahoma State Cowboys


Jessica Hoover on why she chose Miami University


"Making a college choice was no easy decision for me.  After all, where you're going to spend the next four years of your life is pretty important. But after thinking long and hard, I chose Miami University.  So many things affected my decision but these are just a few...

When I went on my visit to Miami, I immediately got the "family feel" that I knew I was looking for.  Over the past four years in high school, my teammates have been some of my best friends and the ones I know I can trust with anything.  This is how I wanted it to be in college.  I wanted to be able to surround myself with people that have some of the same goals in mind and who know how to work hard but still have fun as well.  After talking with my host and other girls on the team, I knew they were the type of girls I wanted to be around.  They truly loved the sport and each other.   

I also knew that I wanted a coach that could motivate me; one that believed in me and knew, not just hoped, that I would achieve my goals.  Coach Kelly encompasses all of these qualities and so many more.  After talking about some of the things I want to shoot for while running in college, I could tell Coach Kelly took me seriously and was going to do everything in her power to make me the best runner I can be.  Time after time, I would hang up the phone after a call from Coach Kelly and be smiling.  She is passionate about running and the school itself and truly got me excited to run at Miami.  

When you tack on the beautiful campus, the miles of trails, and the great academic ratings of the school itself, I knew that Miami was the perfect school for me....so excited to be a RedHawk!!"


Hannah Neczypor on why she chose Georgetown University


"I chose to sign with Georgetown University because of its strong running history as well as its current success.  Coach Miltenberg has done a great job developing the runners and creating a very close-knit team.   The team is so talented and has many strong underclassmen.  I loved my official visit with everyone and felt I would fit in well there.  I was surprised at how many great running trails there are right from campus.  I am excited about living in the DC area and seeing what the East Coast is like.  Georgetown is also one of the top ranked academic universities and I am fortunate to have this opportunity to receive a great education.  I signed my letter of intent and I am very excited about becoming a Hoya!"


Candace Longino-Thomas on why she chose Texas Christian University


"There were several factors; one of the main factors after visiting Texas Christian University was that it reminded me of Gilmour Academy. After talking with Coach Anderson and realizing that he reminded me a lot of my grandfather (Coach Holland, Retired Cleveland Heights track coach) and that he happened to have ran for my grandfather at John Adams, I knew this was a perfect fit. I'm looking forward to running in the Texas weather and growing as a athlete and student at TCU. After I found out they were going to the Big East, I could not have been more excited."


Brooke Benner on why she chose Edinboro University


"I have chosen to attend Edinboro University in the fall. My college search proved to be difficult as I went on a countless number of visits. Edinboro was the last school I visited and I knew on the ride home that I would be attending there next fall.

I was first introduced to Edinboro my freshman year when I heard about its strong running tradition. Then earlier this fall one of my best friends, Cookie Aultz, committed to play volleyball at Edinboro. After hearing how much she and her family liked the school I decided to check it out for myself.


One of the things I like most about Edinboro is the tradition found there in both athletics and academics. Growing up in Orrville I’ve seen the pride that comes with strong traditions. Orrville has a lot to be proud of, like being the hometown of Coach Bob Knight and the JM Smucker Co. This is an important quality I want the college I attend to have and I found that at Edinboro. I plan to study biology and the programs there are excellent.


I also had a great time with the coaches and team on my visit. Coach Watts has had a lot of success as a coach and has a fun personality along with Coach Kelly. Over the last six years that I’ve ran for Orrville I’ve developed phenomenal relationships with my coaches, Ryan Hochstetler, Beth Woodward, and Jill Reed. I also desire to trust and bond with my coaches in college and I felt a great connection with both coaches on my visit. The team members also made me feel welcome and were great hosts. I think I’m going to feel right at home with this decision and I’m very excited to be a fighting Scot!"