Huntley senior Aubrie Purtell’s first college choice would have been Michigan, although she knew that also would have ended her gymnastics career.
“I’ve always dreamed of Michigan, but I know my caliber or gymnastics wasn’t that high,” Purtell said.
So when Michigan’s physical therapy program had reached its maximum number of students, Purtell was not all that disappointed. That opened the option of staying with gymnastics as a way to get some of her college expenses covered.
Purtell accepted a scholarship offer from Northern Illinois last week and will attend the DeKalb school in the fall, where she will study in the physical therapy program.
“It was meant to be,” she said. “It worked out for the best. Gymnastics is my passion.”
Purtell trains and competes for Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center and will go to the U.S. Junior Olympic Eastern Gymnastics Championships in two weeks in Jackson, Miss. She is competing at Level 10 for the first time.
Lisa Rumford, one of the coaches at CLGTC, said Purtell was a Level 9 Eastern Nationals vault champion last year before moving to Level 10 this year. Purtell does not compete on a high school team.
“No one’s more deserving [of a scholarship] than Aubrie,” Rumford said. “No one. She works harder than anyone in our gym.”
Bradshaw to Cornerstone: Prairie Ridge senior Michael Bradshaw will continue his basketball career at NAIA Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., in the fall.
Bradshaw was a three-year varsity starter for the Wolves and a Northwest Herald All-Area second-team selection this season. He averaged 15.7 points, hit 79.7 percent on free throws and made 50 3-pointers.
Bradshaw said Cornerstone baseball coach Dave Mitroff, a former Wolves baseball assistant coach, had a hand in recruiting him to play at Cornerstone.
Kaht to Lewis: Richmond-Burton distance runner James Kaht has accepted a scholarship offer at NCAA Division II Lewis University in Romeoville. Kaht, a senior, was the Class 2A state runner-up in the 1,600 meters last year.
Kaht battled through injuries in the cross country season and was a Northwest Herald All-Area honorable-mention pick. At Lewis, Kaht will be running in the Great Lakes Valley Conference against his older brother, Richard, who runs at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.
Burris to Augie: Prairie Ridge right-handed pitcher Danny Burris will continue his baseball career next year at D-III Augustana College in Rock Island.
Burris is a starter for the Wolves this year and also saw time in their rotation as a junior.
Velasquez to Rose-Hulman: Marengo senior Justin Velasquez, a three-sport athlete for the Indians, will play football in the fall at D-III Rose Hulman in Terre Haute, Ind.
Velasquez has been a two-year starter for Marengo’s football team, and also played basketball and baseball. Velasquez plans on majoring in biomedical engineering.
Pichardo to St. Francis: Harvard senior Jorge Pichardo, who is regarded as one of the Hornets’ best distance runners in school history, will run at NAIA St. Francis University in Joliet.
Pichardo finished fourth in the Big Northern Conference Meet last fall and was 55th in the Class 1A Boys Cross Country State Meet.