MANKATO — Four athletes from Mankato West signed letters of intent to accept scholarships and continue their athletic careers in college.
Breanna Black, Megan Hulscher, Molly Lohman and Danielle Nack all signed Wednesday in an after-school ceremony at West. New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s Carlie Wagner also made it official Wednesday, signing her letter of intent with the Minnesota Gophers women’s basketball team.
Black is signing for softball with Sioux Falls of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, while Hulscher is signing for volleyball with Winona State of the Northern Sun.
Lohman will be joining the volleyball program at the University of Minnesota, while Nack signed with the Gophers’ swimming program.
Black chose Sioux Falls because she is familiar with the head coach from playing summer ball and they have a strong reputation in the major she was interested in pursuing — biology/chemisty. UW-River Falls and Winona State were also in the running toward the end but she decided about a month a go it would Sioux Falls.
“It just felt like the best place for me,” Black said. “I’m going in as a pitcher but they liked the fact that I can play second base and the outfield, too.”
Black is a two-year letterwinner at West who batted .316 last season with a .354 on-base percentage last spring.
She was 3-0 as a pitcher with a 0.35 earned-run average.
Hulscher opted for Winona State for three main reasons: “I wanted to keep playing volleyball, they had the major (bio-chem) that I wanted and I loved the campus when I went to visit.”
Hulscher was also considering Viterbo, UM-Cookston and Sioux Falls until deciding last May to be become a Warrior.
An outside hitter, Hulscher is a four-year varsity starter and a two-time All-Big Nine Conference player. She finished her prep career with 749 kills, 137 ace blocks, 279 digs and 143 service aces.
Lohman was looking at mostly smaller colleges until the Gophers gave her a call right after her sophomore year at West.
She was flattered and, when they offered her a scholarship, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“It was just an opportunity that was too good to pass up,” she said. “This is a good program at the highest collegiate level and I’ve always wanted to go to the U anyway, so I grabbed it.
“It’s going to be good for me because I”m going to have to get better if I want to play. I’ll be pushed hard by the other players and that’s what I want.”
The middle hitter is a three-year varsity starter who is a two-time All-Big Nine Conference player. She was an All-State selection this past fall and voted MVP by her team the last two seasons.
For her career, Lohman has 853 kills, 250 ace blocks, 307 digs and 94 service aces.
Nack will officially end her prep career next week at the state swim meet. Even before that competition she is the most accomplished swimmer in Mankato history.
She is a two-time defending state champion in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-butterfly and also won a state title last year as part of West’s 400-free relay team.
Nack is the Class A record-holder in the 50-freestyle (22.82) and is the state’s overall record-holder in the fly (52.41).
Nack is the reigning Class A Swimmer of the Year. She turned down opportunities to swim for some elite programs in the south to stay home and swim for the Gophers.
“I’ve just always wanted to swim for Minnesota,” she said. “That’s what my decision came down to. Now it’s going to happen.”
NRHEG’s Wagner verbally committed to the Gophers more than a year ago and then went out and led her Panthers to the Class AA state championship.
She averaged 33.6 points per game last year. During the three-game state tournament, the 5-foot-10 guard averaged a state record 43 points.
“Carlie will soon be a household name in the state of Minnesota,” Gophers head coach Pam Borton said in a press release. “It’s always exciting when the No. 1 player in the state, and a top-50 player nationally, wants to stay home and play for their state school.”