MEDINA — Alex Wasik has excelled at the biggest meets in high school track and field.
Come this fall, she will be stepping onto an even larger stage.
The Medina senior has accepted an athletic scholarship from Villanova University, where she will compete in the pole vault and heptathlon for one of the most storied squads in the country.
“It was a very tough decision, but I’m extremely excited about going to Villanova,” said Wasik, who was courted by numerous big-name NCAA Division I programs. “After I toured the school and walked around the campus, I knew it was the best fit for me, both athletically and academically.”
Villanova is located on the outskirts of Philadelphia, which is considered hallowed ground in the sport because of its rich track tradition.
As part of that community, the Wildcats play a major role in the legendary Penn Relays, which drew more than 100,000 fans for the three-day event at Franklin Field last spring.
“I am just so excited thinking about the Penn Relays, the big audiences and the huge events that we’ll be competing in through the Big East (Conference),” said Wasik, who participated in the 2010 Nike High School Indoor Nationals. “They definitely played a role in making my decision because I love to perform in those settings.”
The 5-foot-8 standout, who finished second in the pole vault at the 2010 state meet, also made official visits to Penn State, Duke and Tennessee. In the end, Wasik’s decision came down to Villanova and the Air Force Academy.
“The Air Force Academy has an amazing program and what they offered was incredible,” the honors student said. “But honestly, I just didn’t know if a military lifestyle was what I wanted for my future.
“Villanova has one of the top business schools in the country and their opportunities to study abroad are also great, so it had everything I was interested in.”
Wasik notified both colleges of her decision Sunday, but won’t officially sign her national letter of intent until later in the week when the Wildcats complete their end of the paperwork.
When she does formally commit to Villanova, Wasik says her entire family will be on hand, along with longtime Medina pole vault coach Tom George.
“Coach George helped me make my decision in more ways than he’ll ever know,” she said. “He’s been a major influence on me, and I wouldn’t be the pole vaulter I am today without him.”
Before Wasik heads to Philadelphia in early August, she has plenty of unfinished business with the Bees. She is one of three seniors on Medina’s gymnastics team, which has legitimate state meet aspirations, and will be pole vaulting and hurdling for the track team in the spring.
“I will definitely be more relaxed now that I’ve completed the (recruiting) process,” said Wasik, who also earned All-Ohio honors in gymnastics in 2009. “There obviously is a risk of injury in competing, especially with gymnastics, but I love being part of our teams so much that it doesn’t concern me. I can’t wait to see how much fun we can have together the rest of the year.”
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.