Playing at the next level means making sacrifices. Often athletes can’t rely on pure talent alone. They must hone their craft by being the first at the field, gym, or pool, and are the last to leave. It’s this kind of passion and dedication to their respective sport that has enabled 12 high school athletes in Evansville and Newburgh, Ind., to sign letters of intent so far during the 2013-2014 school year.
Those 12 athletes include Ernie Duncan of Harrison, who signed to play basketball at the University of Vermont; Jacob Fleming of Mater Dei, who signed to play baseball at the University of Southern Indiana; Ryan Gulledge of North, who signed to play baseball at the University of Southern Indiana; Taylor Howerton of North, who signed to play golf at Indiana University; Will LaRue of Mater Dei, who signed to play baseball at Xavier University; Bethany Hyndman of Boonville High School, who signed to play volleyball at Oakland City University; Brooks Logan of Reitz Memorial, who signed to swim at Southern Methodist University; Dylan Meyer of Central, who signed to play golf at Illinois; Maura Muensterman of Mater Dei, who signed to play basketball at Indiana University; Kori Waelbroeck of F.J. Reitz, who signed to play volleyball at IUPUI; Korbin Williams of Castle, who signed to play baseball at the University of Evansville; and Carolyn Wilmes of Mater Dei, who signed to play softball at Ball State University.
Here, we introduce you to seven of the athletes and see how they achieved this accomplishment.
Taylor Howerton (North)
North senior golfer Taylor Howerton moved from Madisonville, Ky., to Evansville before her junior year when her father, Jeff, got a job as the golf pro at Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper, Ind.
But changing schools didn’t stop her from achieving her dream of signing to play golf at Indiana University. The 17-year-old chose IU over the University of Indianapolis.
During her senior season in fall 2013, Howerton was a medalist in 10 of 17 tournaments and recorded her lowest score of a 68. As a team, North went undefeated and finished sixth at the state tournament.
Will LaRue (Mater Dei)
Ever since tee ball, Mater Dei senior outfielder Will LaRue wanted to keep playing the sport he loved. Even during the offseason, LaRue practices on his own.
“I don’t like to be outworked by anyone,” says the 18-year-old, who has played four years of baseball and basketball in high school.
Such hard work by the son of Cathy and Mark LaRue has earned him a chance to keep playing. LaRue signed to play baseball at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He chose Xavier over Kansas and Olney Central College in Olney, Ill.
LaRue has been selected to the Academic All-State team for three consecutive years. He also recorded 30 stolen bases last season.
Brooks Logan (Reitz Memorial)
Brooks Logan always imagined he would play soccer in college, but a concussion altered his focus to swimming where he was achieving great success.
Logan played soccer and swam for the first two years in high school, before he made the “bittersweet” decision to concentrate solely on swimming. But the attention placed on one sport paid off as the Reitz Memorial senior signed to swim at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He chose SMU over Columbia and Indiana.
“It was always my dream to be a Division I athlete, and I always thought I’d be playing soccer, but this was the best decision for me,” says the son of Mark and Donna Logan.
Memorial’s boys team was recently ranked No. 10 in the state, and earned the Southern Indiana Athletic Conference boys title on Jan. 25 at Castle. Logan swam to victory while setting two new Southern Indiana Athletic Conference records in both the 50 (21.46) and 100 (47.02) freestyles, and also teamed up with seniors Mitchell Sullivan, Matt Tharp, and junior Jacob Winiger to finish first in the 200-medley relay.
Kori Waelbroeck (F.J. Reitz)
When Kori Waelbroeck’s father, Robert, died in April 2013, the F.J. Reitz senior volleyball player had to keep playing like she had always done.
Her father, who had been in the hospital with complications from Hemophilia, a blood clotting disorder, passed away right after she played at JVA Worlds Challenge in Louisville, Ky. In June, she continued on to help her club team, KIVA 17 Red, to a fifth-place finish in the 17-Open division at AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla.
“It was really hard to play knowing he was that sick, but I didn’t want to remember him looking like that because he had tubes in him and everything,” she says. “So I just played through it. That’s what he would’ve wanted me to do. He always wanted me to be a volleyball star.”
Kori Waelbroeck has become just that, as she signed to play volleyball for IUPUI. She chose IUPUI over Evansville, University of Southern Indiana, Missouri, Butler, Brigham Young, and others.
The 6-2 right side outside hitter is a two-time All-Metro, All-City, All-Conference selection.
Dylan Meyer (Central)
The scholarship offer to play golf at Illinois didn’t come as quick as others for Central senior Dylan Meyer, but when it did the 18-year-old knew his answer right away.
“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse because I know what coach Mike Small has there,” Meyer says. “At the time, they had won four straight Big 10 championships, and now five.”
The indoor golf facility and being close to home went into making his college decision, Meyer says. The son of Jill and Darren Meyer chose Illinois over Ball State, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Louisville, Arizona, as well as others.
Meyer tied for fifth at the 2013 American Junior Golf Association Under Armour/Jeff Overton Championship.
Maura Muensterman (Mater Dei)
The passion that Mater Dei girls basketball standout Maura Muensterman plays with is rooted in the success her older brother, Kelly Muensterman, achieved while also wearing gold and red.
Six years older, Kelly Muensterman won the Class 2A Indiana State boys basketball championship during the 2003-2004 season.
Her brother is who helped the three-sport athlete, balancing four years of volleyball, basketball, and softball, make the decision to sign to play women’s basketball at Indiana University on Nov. 15, 2013.
The 6-foot forward chose IU over schools such as Butler, Evansville, Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, and various others.
“When I sat down with coach Curt Miller, it immediately felt like home. I absolutely hate losing, and he said, ‘I don’t lose well.’ That stuck with me,’” she says.
The daughter of Terry and Mary Ellen Muensterman helped Mater Dei win back-to-back girls basketball state titles her sophomore and junior years. She plans to major in physical therapy at IU.
Korbin Williams (Castle)
Korbin Williams showed what he could do on a baseball field out west, and now he’s ready to prove it in Evansville.
The 18-year-old Castle centerfielder moved from Pueblo West, Colo., to Evansville where he has family ties in August 2013.
Williams is a two-time Southern Colorado League All-Conference winner and a 2013 Colorado All-State winner, and has signed to play baseball at the University of Evansville.
“It was kind of a rough transition,” Williams said of the cross-country move. “Everything happens for a reason though, and this is for the best. I’m ready to prove myself in a new area.”
He is the son of LaNeeca and Rodney Williams, and will play his fourth year of varsity baseball in the spring. He chose Evansville over the University of Nebraska