Three Northmor student-athletes recently signed to continue their athletic and academic careers in college, as Isabelle Ditullio will run track and cross country for Mount Vernon Nazarene University and both Gunnar Lilly and Frank Keller will play football for Bluffton University.
Ditullio, who is planning to major in special education, enjoyed her visits to MVNU, which played a role in choosing that university.
“It’s a really nice college,” she said. “It’s small and has a good environment.”
That environment, as well as the people there, boosted the Mount Vernon school above the others she was looking at, although the decision wasn’t an easy one.
“It took a while,” she said. “I had to visit a few times to make my final decision.”
While there, she will be busy athletically, competing in cross country and also running distance for both indoor and outdoor track. One exciting aspect for her is the newness of the track program, which just recently started. With that in mind, she looks to earn her way into a key position as quickly as possible.
“I will work my way up,” she said, as she nears the end of a high school career in which she earned league honors several times for placing high enough in the league track and cross country meets. She also competed in the state cross country meet with her Knight team as a senior.
Campus environment also played a big role in both Lilly and Keller choosing to attend Bluffton.
“Just the fact it’s a smaller school,” said Lilly in describing why he was interested in Bluffton. “I heard a lot about it from other people who went there and it clicked.”
Keller added, “The environment and the people I know down there and who are going to be there like him (Lilly), my best friend.”
Keller had also been thinking about attending Ohio Northern University, but due to a handful of factors, in particular the Bluffton coaching staff, he chose that school after a couple months of deliberation.
“When I had my overnight visit, it clicked with me a lot and I wanted to be part of that,” he said.
Lilly, who will be a defensive back in college, noted that being able to compete at the collegiate level is a dream come true.
“I’ve always wanted to play sports in college and football was my best opportunity,” he said. “It’s my favorite sport and I love it — I can’t wait to do it for four more years. I’ll need to get stronger, faster and quicker. It’s a lot different game than in high school.
Lilly will major in business, while Keller is undecided, but considering psychology. Both earned a number of accolades in high school. They both will play in the NCO All-Star Game on June 11 at Lexington High School and both were named to the NCO first team this year. Lilly was a second-team pick as a junior. In the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, Keller was a first team defensive pick as a senior and a second-team offensive pick as a junior.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS