GOOSE LAKE — Northeast seniors Alexis Ehlers and Neveah Hildebrandt each made their college decisions official Wednesday afternoon at the Northeast Middle School gym.
Surrounded by friends, family and coaches, Ehlers signed to play softball at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and Hildebrandt signed to play softball at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“I’m very excited, just very nervous to see what the next year’s going to bring,” Ehlers said. “I’m excited to be able to continue one of my favorite sports at the next level and just meet new people.”
Hildebrandt, who the Herald spoke to in December about her decision, said she’s glad for everything to finally be official.
“I feel pretty relieved,” Hildebrandt said. “Now I have pretty much everything done. I don’t really have to worry about it until the end of the school year, so I’m happy about it.”
Ehlers will play under coach Brent Matthias at Simpson.
“The coaches were phenomenal and always brought positive energy no matter what,” Ehlers said. “The constant support I got not only from the coaches, but the players too — the campus was super nice and was super small, which is something I looked for in a school from day one.”
Ehlers didn’t start her college search until last fall, and while she felt rushed at times — especially with COVID complicating things — she was confident in her decision.
“I let myself figure out what was my best spot and took my time to look at different schools, whether it was through pictures or going to the actual campus,” Ehlers said. “I think I got a pretty good feel of what school is going to be like next year.”
Ehlers said like other colleges, COVID has changed some things.
“(Matthias) talked about how it’s changed the way the games are played and they can’t travel, so a lot of their fall was intermixed with the same girls that you’re going to college with, but I think this coming spring there will be at least a little bit of normal — as much as we can make at this time,” Ehlers said.
It’s the same for Hildebrandt at Kirkwood.
“I talked to some of the other softball girls and they’re saying it’s pretty much like everywhere else — some classes are online, some are in person, so hopefully we’ll be able to be back in person for everything and everything will be a bit more normal.”
Ehlers, who plans to study to be an athletic trainer, said she’s already met some of her future teammates and is ready for the college experience.
“I’m excited for my classes and to further my education,” Ehlers said. “I think that’s my most exciting part, but also just the atmosphere of getting to be with girls that want to do the same sport as me. You’re going there to pursue something further and I think that’s a big deal — that’s what I’m most excited about.”