For the first month of school, Megan Elliott heard a daily query from her Calvert classmates in the hallways.
"Everyone asked me every day: 'Where are you going? Where are you going?' " Elliott said, referring to her college recruitment.
"Now, I finally have an answer."
Elliott made her choice Wednesday night, calling first-year Arizona State softball coach Clint Myers to tell him she would play for the Sun Devils. The All-Met player of the year will make her commitment official during the week-long early signing period, which begins Nov. 9.
Elliott knew her long recruitment -- which hit several snags with schools making offers, then pulling them when she did not commit immediately -- was on the verge of ending after she returned home from her official visit to the campus last weekend.
"The campus is so nice, and their stadium is just amazing," she said. "They told me that I'm their number one recruit and that I'd be able to play right away."
Elliott said Arizona State sold her -- after she made official visits to Virginia and Oregon last month -- with the promise that she would have a spot in the lineup. When she is not pitching -- Katie Burkhart was the Sun Devils' top pitcher last season as a freshman -- Elliott will be allowed to play the outfield.
"She wanted to play in the Pac-10 [Conference] all along," Elliott's father, Mike, said, "and it was going to be hard to get her away from the Pac-10."
Elliott decided not to make her last two official visits, to Mississippi State and Syracuse. The Orange entered the picture within the past two weeks, after former McDonough All-Met Clarisa Crowell was named an assistant at Syracuse. Crowell's father, Richard, is Elliott's pitching coach.
But Elliott is glad she resisted the pressure from coaches to commit over the summer, before she was allowed to go on official visits.
"I guess the one thing I learned was how really important it was to take my visits," she said, adding that she would not have committed to Arizona State sight unseen. "I would have been really unhappy if I went somewhere without seeing it first."
Lackey Star Going Division I
Tayvon Jackson doesn't know who the last Lackey player was to sign a Division I basketball scholarship. All that matters to him is that he will be the next.
The 6-foot-8 Jackson orally committed to Mount St. Mary's University last week after receiving an offer from the Western Maryland school in the Northeast Conference. He has 4.1 grade-point average.
"Last year, I didn't think I would get this much attention," said Jackson, who averaged 8.5 points per game as Lackey went 16-7. "I'm just real happy."
Jackson hired a personal trainer this summer and bulked up to nearly 200 pounds. He also played with the DC Assault, one of the nation's highest-profile AAU programs, which helped increase his exposure. He had also had contact from Elon, UNC-Wilmington, Howard and Central Connecticut State. Those schools, though, wanted to wait for Jackson's first few games of his senior season before deciding whether to offer a scholarship.
"You can't risk having a Division I scholarship in your hand," Jackson said. "You've got to take it."
Jackson's new coach at Lackey, former Thomas Stone assistant Tony Mast, said he has spent all week trying to find out the last Lackey basketball player to play Division I basketball. If he has his druthers, though, there will be a steady stream of Chargers playing in colleges.
"I thought about a lot of things I wanted to do," Mast said, "and getting kids to school was number one."
Vacancies Finally Filled
The last two boys' basketball coaching vacancies have been filled. Jake Heibel will move from the Leonardtown girls' program to the boys' program, and Patuxent athletic director Steve Crounse will coach the Panthers for this season on an interim basis.
Heibel replaces Glenn Larnerd, who was forced to choose between being a coach or the school's athletic director because of a rule enacted by the St. Mary's County public schools. Heibel takes over a program that hasn't won more than seven games in the past five seasons. That's nothing new. When he took over Great Mills' boys' program in 1997, the Hornets went 6-16. Two years later, they were 20-5 and winners of the school's second Southern Maryland Athletic Conference championship, and its first in 28 seasons.
Heibel left in 2003 for one season as an assistant with the women's team at St. Mary's College before coming back to high school with Leonardtown's girls last year. The school is now accepting applications for the girls' head coach.
Crounse, who also heads the Panthers' football program, said he will coach the basketball team for one season. He cited a lack of applicants for the position, which was vacated by Chris Hodge, who took an administrative position in Upstate New York.
Half of the 12 varsity boys' basketball teams in the SMAC will have different coaches from those who ended last season. In addition to changes at Leonardtown and Patuxent, Westlake has named John Mappas to replace Jimmy Ball, who is starting North Point's program. Former Chopticon assistant Terry Mumau has taken over for Rich O'Donnell, Mast has replaced Walton Burroughs at Lackey, and Frank Peck is expected to return to Great Mills once he returns from a year of military duty in Iraq with the Army National Guard.