By Josh Brown
CASSTOWN — After missing her entire sophomore season with an injury, Morgan Haney wasn’t sure what her options would look like when it came time to choose a college.
As it turned out, all the work the Miami East point guard put in paid off.
Haney, about to enter her senior season with the Viking girls basketball team, officially signed her commitment to attend the University of Albany and play at the next level in Division I women’s basketball — one of four Viking athletes to sign college commitments Wednesday night at Miami East High School.
For Haney, the last choice turned out to be the correct one.
“Albany was actually my last official visit,” Haney said. “I had it narrowed down to three schools in the end — Albany, Army and Air Force — and when I went to Albany, I just knew right away. The environment, it just felt like home, the staff was amazing and the team just made me feel really welcome compared to any other school I visited. It’s a beautiful campus, and the team is going to be really good, I think.”
And when asked what it took for an athlete from a small-town D-III Ohio high school to sign to attend a D-I college in New York, Haney’s answer was simple.
“Time and time and time in the gym,” she said. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was five years old. Just staying after practice — I work out with my trainer and do stuff in the weight room every single night.
“It’s not just practice. There’s always time you can put in more. And ultimately, that’s what got me here.”
The road wasn’t as easy as it sounds for Haney, though. After a stellar freshman season, she missed her sophomore year with a knee injury, leaving questions as to how she’d recover.
She answered those during her junior season by being named the Cross County Conference Player of the Year, scoring 18.8 points per game and leading the Vikings to their first league title in four seasons. She also earned All-Ohio special mention last year.
“It’s relieving,” Haney said. “I wasn’t really sure after missing my sophomore year what was going to happen recruiting wise. This year, AAU really helped me pick up recruiting, and it was just finding a really great fit. Being able to know where I’m going heading into my senior season, I can just go out, have fun and not worry about where I’m going to go to college.”
Two other Vikings also signed to play for D-I colleges, with Conner Wilson signing to play men’s soccer for West Virginia University.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Wilson said. “Obviously, going to a (Big 12) school like that and getting an opportunity to come in and compete is a big deal for me and my family. My goal has been to go Division I since I was 10 years old. Getting to go to a (Big 12) school is a dream come true, and tonight, I made it official.”
It really came about with dedication and commitment, going out and not taking the easy way,” Wilson said. “I wasn’t a highly-recruited athlete, so I had to go out and show myself to these colleges. West Virginia came around, saw me and offered me a great opportunity.”
Wilson set a single-season scoring record for the Viking boys soccer team during his senior year with 44 goals this past fall, helping lead Miami East to the boys soccer program’s first D-III district final appearance. And now he will move on to play for the Mountaineer men’s soccer team, which, although WVU is a big 12 school, competes in the Mid-American Conference.
“Being a part of that, making history, is a big part of my high school career,” Wilson said. “It’s a big memory that I’ll always have. With Wes (Sutherly), Parker (Heim) and all my teammates by my side, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Scoring 44 goals, I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the team behind my back. It was a great pleasure and honor to serve Miami East for the three years I had here, and now I’m ready to get to the next level.”
Blaine Brokschmidt also signed to attend Youngstown State University and be a part of a D-I college track and field team. Brokschmidt is a two-time state qualifier for the Vikings, placing eighth in the pole vault as a sophomore and then fourth during his junior year. He also holds Miami East’s school record in the event, clearing 15-0.
And Sam Urban, a senior for the Miami East softball team, signed to attend Bluffton University and play D-III college softball for the Beavers.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.