St. Paul senior Meghan Hedrick had no idea just by checking the mail she may end up at a Division I university for athletics.
But on Tuesday morning, she signed her name for a letter-of-intent to run cross country along with track at field at Ball State University in the Mid-American Conference.
There had been no communication with the Muncie, Ind. school prior to a letter sent in the mail.
“After I responded, they ended up inviting me for a visit — and it was an amazing trip,” Hedrick said. “Everything clicked with awesome coaches, a great team, and the exercise science program was really intense with awesome equipment to use.
“It just kind of all fell into place and came together,” she added.
A standout in sprints, Hedrick didn’t start running the 800-meter run until midway through last track season. She ended up setting the new girls record at St. Paul in the event, and advanced to state.
Hedrick also teamed up on the 4x100 and 4x400 relays that qualified for state — and also set school record times. As she prepares for distance running at Ball State, Hedrick is teaming with former St. Paul volleyball standout and Kent State freshman Kaeleigh Stang in a half-marathon run.
“Distance is a little foreign to me still,” Hedrick said. “I didn’t start running the 800 until halfway through last track season, and we were at New London and I had a pretty good time and thought, ‘alright, we can work with this.’ One thing led to another, and now I’m kind of focused on the 800 right now.
“When I went there (Ball State), they said that most of their 800 runners do cross country to get the proper mileage and training in,” she added. “It will be a whole new atmosphere for me as far as the cross country aspect, but I’ve enjoyed the training for distance so far.”
Along with Stang, Hedrick becomes one of the select few Div. I college athletes in recent years from St. Paul.
“I’ve been inspired by a lot of prior athletes that have come through St. Paul who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level,” she said. “When I first got the opportunity, I was blown away. It’s going to be a whole new experience — and a whole different level to take my athletics to, and I’m really excited and grateful for the opportunity.
“The coaching I’ve received here has definitely prepared me for that in all of my sports,” Hedrick added. “I definitely feel I’ve gotten good training to take me to the next level.”
Just last week, Hedrick was voted to the All-Ohio first team in Div. IV by the volleyball coaches association. She was also a first team choice in the Firelands Conference and in the district.
Last June, Hedrick was 11th in the 800 run at the Div. III state championships, and with her teammates in the 4x400 placed sixth to reach the podium, while the 4x100 team was ninth.
“I’m definitely focused on track, but I was excited to see I made first team volleyball,” Hedrick said. “I’m excited for the upcoming track season and to work with the team in the winter, too.
“Our goal is to win the conference again, then get to the postseason and try and get to state and get to the highest level again in multiple events with relays,” she added.