With the deadline for college applications looming over the heads of seniors, a select group of students is enjoying the luxury of relaxation, secure in a future already decided.

Athletic accomplishment helped the following seniors commit to their respective colleges up to 11 months ago. Jealous?

Senior Audrey Plant committed in January to the University of Delaware to play softball. She plans to join the Fightin’ Blue Hens next fall.

The UD coach watched Plant play while she was at a softball camp during her junior year and while playing for her New Jersey club team.

According to Plant, she had no previous knowledge of UD; however, she was pleasantly surprised when she learned more about the school. The academically-strong school has a long list of majors, which is good for the currently undecided Plant. She is considering a major in Communications or Business.

“I love the atmosphere on campus; [the architecture] is very colonial style, and the [overall] vibe is great,” Plant said.

The location of the campus in Newark, Delaware played a key role in Plant’s decision to commit to UD.

“I like the location because it is close to all the major cities in the East, and I have family in Jersey,” Plant said. “I have always loved the East coast, so I just thought it was a great fit.”

Looking to the future, Plant is excited to begin training with the softball team next fall and hopes to contribute positively to the program.

“I am really excited to go to school,” Plant said. “It has been a long time coming.”

While Plant is traveling to the East coast for college, senior John Hardesty plans to stay close to home at The Ohio State University. Hardesty committed to OSU on April 23 and will be playing lacrosse for the Buckeyes next year.

The OSU lacrosse coaches contacted Hardesty in September of 2008. They checked in with Hardesty’s athletics and academics, making sure that Hardesty was working hard both on and off the field.

“Ohio State requires its athletes to do well in school,” Hardesty said. “They take pride in the academic success of their athletes.”

According to Hardesty, the application process is the same for athletes as it is for any other student.

“The only difference is that athletes have to file their application in writing earlier than other applicants,” Hardesty said. “The lacrosse coach checks your academics out with admissions before they make you an offer to make sure you will be able to be accepted and also so you will be cleared through the NCAA.”

Of all the colleges recruiting Hardesty, OSU was Hardesty’s first choice.

“It is a great college, close to home and has a great lacrosse program,” Hardesty said.

After committing, Hardesty has relaxed into his senior year. He said that school is 10 times better now that his college selection is over.

“I cannot wait to go to Ohio State,” Hardesty said. “You can’t beat playing lacrosse for Ohio State and being a student there.”

Although Plant and Hardesty committed early during their junior year, senior Kadie Koeneman did not commit to a college until the summer before her senior year. She committed to Indiana University of Pennsylvania and plans to play volleyball for the Crimson Hawks next fall.

“[IUP has] a strong [volleyball] program and good coaches,” Koeneman said of the Division II school. “They are ranked pretty high in their conference and are continuing to improve.”

Koeneman will begin training this summer in preparation for the team.

“In the summer, there is a workout packet,” Koeneman said. “So I would say that the training program is pretty intense. And in the mornings of the off-season they have individual [training] sessions with the girls [who also play] your position and the coach.”

During the winter season, Koeneman said she looks forward to training in IUP’s new athletics facility. When considering colleges, Koeneman considered a few factors more important than others, including the training facility, new dorm rooms and the campus.

“The campus is nice; it’s big but not too big,” Koeneman said. “It’s also in a pretty area.”

In order for IUP to take serious interest in Koeneman, she had to show an extra interest in the school.

“The IUP coach started recruiting me at a recruiting camp in Virginia that my UAHS coach recommended,” Koeneman said. “I started showing interest [in the school] and received letters from the school and the team.”

After camp, Koeneman narrowed down her choices to her top three schools.

“It was a tough decision between my top three: Winthrop, Washington and Lee, and IUP. But I loved IUP from the start,” she said. “I really like the coach and the team, so everything just seemed to line up.

Though the road getting there may have been tough, these seniors’ hard work has paid off in a big way—a stress-free senior year.