NEW PARIS — Five athletes from National Trail High School recently signed letters to further their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level.
The five signings represented four sports — baseball, football, golf and softball.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to play at the next level. To go to the next level and be an athlete. It just tells of the hard work (they) have put in over the years. It didn’t just start three years ago, four years ago. It started well before that. It just means a lot to have these kind of kids at our school,” said former NT Athletic Director Kevin Alexander.
Glander will play football at the University of Findlay beginning in the fall.
“The thing that sold me with Findlay was the coaches. The coaches were really good to me, really nice. I knew they were going to motivate me to do my best at every practice, every day. I can see myself being a winner there and really becoming something,” he said.
Glander, a four-year letterman, said he felt it was the right fit from the moment he walked on campus.
“With Findlay, right from the first day I went to visit, it felt like home to me. It just felt good to me. It’s just something I really can’t explain,” he said.
Glander, who also excelled in track this past spring, said the National Trail community was supportive.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Trail for my four years of high school. I love National Trail. I’ve seen the good and the bad in my four years. I’ve seen the really good where we made the playoffs my freshman year to my senior year where went 2-8. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, ” he said. “The community was good to me. They supported me through everything.”
Plankenhorn is taking his golfing talents just across the border at Indiana University East in Richmond.
“This last year of golf, it’s been great. I knew I wanted to take my talent to the next level. I’m looking forward to the future and see where I can go with my golf career,” he said. “I figure I could stay at home and get more prepared for my future so instead of going straight into the workforce.”
Plankenhorn was a four-year letter-winner on the links and also played baseball for two years.
“I’ve had a great four years here. It’s been wonderful. I love it. I hate to say goodbye, but it’s been great, ” he said.
“He wants to get better. He’s willing to do the work, willing to put the time in and I think he showed it this year. I’m glad to see him moving on and I think he’ll be an excellent acquisition for IU East and their golf program,” National Trail golf coach Kurt Bachman said.
Pettit will play baseball at Wright State University Lake Campus in Celina.
“I went there mainly because I liked the place. It was a good environment. Most importantly I could further my education. I liked the program they have going in baseball. It’s really up and coming,” he said.
Petitt said he feels he can play right away.
“There’s a bunch of opportunity there. I’m going there to prove myself as a hitter first off and find my way into the field,” he said.
Baseball has always been a part of his life.
“I’ve always wanted to play. It’s the sport that I enjoy the most and I felt I had the best shot doing. I’ve worked myself to get to where I’m at now,” he said.
He said he’s enjoyed his time at Trail.
“It’s a good environment here. Everything is easy going. Nobody’s here to ridicule you. Everybody’s happy to see success here,” Petitt said.
“He’s a senior. He’s been here four years. Obviously, he’s provided good leadership to the younger kids. It’s always good having a kid going to college and the (other) kids will look up to that and try to hopefully replicate it and set their goals and do the same thing and play college baseball one day,” said National Trail baseball coach Darren Weathington.
Nugent, who said she has always wanted to play college softball, was looking for a small school to further her career and chose Hiram College.
“It was small. The coaches are great. Everybody knows everybody. It was a perfect school. It’s a small community,” she said. “They are a Division III with new coaches this year. It’s a building process.”
Nugent moved to Trail as a sophomore and instantly became a starter and said she is going to miss National Trail.
“I’m going to miss my team and the coaches. I’m never the type of person to sit. I’m the type of person who wants to get right in. Whether that be I have to work as hard as I have to, which I do that anyways. Even if I have to give it that extra 30 percent I’m going to do it.”
Blazers softball coach Krista Alldred said Nugent is going to be hard to replace.
“She is a very big leader in a action role where she does great things. She works hard at practice. She stays after practice. She’s always worked hard in trying to help her teammates. She’s the silent leader. She’s just a great player. She can do it all. She’s got speed on the bases. She can bunt. She can slap. She can hit left handed,” Alldred said. “(She’s) a middle infielder, three-year starter, it’s going to be extremely hard to replace her. What she does outside of softball is big too. I think she is going to be very successful.”
Trey Mann – NT – Urbana for baseball
Mann said he wanted to play at a school that has an up-and-coming team and that’s why he chose Urbana.
“I really liked their facilities and hospitality, the campus and all that stuff. I wanted to go help build (a program) instead of going to one that was already succeeding,” Mann said.
Baseball is something he has always enjoyed.
“I’ve always wanted to play baseball. This is something I love. First love. Last love. Everything I am is pretty much involved with a ball and a bat,” Mann said.
He said his time at Trail was like a roller coaster — a lot of ups and downs.
“We had our ups and downs this year. It was not exactly a perfect senior season, but the guys that were around me made it even better,” he said.
“He did a good job. He was leader, pretty vocal leader to the (younger) kids. Kept the kids going in a good positive direction,” Weathington said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH