Stillwater Area High School seniors Bri Horwath and Natalie Phippen recently confirmed their collegiate plans by signing a National Letter of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at NCAA Division I schools.
Horwath will join the volleyball team at Northern Illinois, which already features 2010 Stillwater graduate Kayla Zeno. Horwath was a captain and All-SEC performer for the Ponies who was also a Second Team selection to the All-Pioneer Press Team.
“Bri brings depth to our pin hitters and brings us our first lefty that we’ve had since I’ve been here at NIU,” Huskies coach Ray Gooden said. “She’s physical and also has solid back row skills and we are excited to have her.”
Phippen, meanwhile, signed on with the Iowa State University track and field program — with the possibility she could also join the tennis team.
An all-state tennis performer who won a staggering 129 matches in six seasons — four of which were spent at No. 1 singles — Phippen helped the Ponies to runner-up finishes in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays on the track at state last spring.
“It’s mainly track (at ISU), but I want to try to do both,” Phippen said.
Several other Ponies seniors have announced their collegiate intentions while also continuing their athletic careers at Division III schools, which do not offer scholarships. A list of those athletes includes: Sebastian Borges (football) at St. Thomas; Danny Buege (football) at Augsburg; Andrew Duxbury (basketball) at UW-Eau Claire; Sam Hodnefield (football) at St. Thomas; Zach Jelinek (football) at St. Scholastica; Sam Lagus (basketball) at St. Olaf; Hannah Okerstrom (soccer and hockey) at St. Catherine’s; Andy Peterson (baseball) at St. Scholastica; and Aaron Romportl (baseball and basketball) at St. Mary’s.
Listed below is information provided by Horwath and Phippen after signing their NLIs.
College attending — Northern Illinois
Sport — Volleyball
Why Northern Illinois? — Ray (Gooden) looks like a fantastic coach. NIU is close to Chicago, which is a quick flight home vs. a 5 1/2 hour car ride.
Major/academic interests — Sign language, business, economics
Other SAHS Activities — Softball (through ninth grade), intramurals.
Most memorable experience with the Ponies — The football team beating Cretin-Derham Hall my sophomore year. We were playing in a tournament in Burnsville and we asked the bus driver to book it back to C-DH and we made it for the last five minutes of the game, but with all the overtime it was like 20 minutes.
College attending — Iowa State University
Sport(s) — Track and field, tennis.
Why Iowa State? — It was the first college I visited out of all my choices and when I met the coach and girls I just loved it. It just felt like it was the perfect fit for me personally. I just loved it.
Major/academic interests — I am undecided, but leaning towards physical therapy.
Other Activities — Humane Society volunteer.
Most memorable experience with the Ponies — I would say probably last year at state for track in the 4×00 relay. That was a pretty exciting race and we only lost by one-one hundredth of a second. That’s the most memorable so far.