BY CHAD DARE
Nearly every high school athlete dreams of the day when they get an opportunity to become a collegiate athlete.
For Danville High standouts Chuckie Robinson and Kristin Verkler those dreams became reality on Wednesday.
Robinson signed his official National Letter of Intent with Southern Miss to play baseball, while Verkler inked her National Letter of Intent to swim at Illinois State.
“It means a lot,’’ said Robinson, the 2012 Commercial-News Player of the Year. “I’ve been playing the game for a long time and this is a dream come true, to be honest.
“This is what I live for is continuing to play baseball.’’
And while Robinson dedicated himself to the baseball diamond, Verkler focused her attention to the pool.
“I always told myself that I could swim in college as long as I put in the work,’’ Verkler said. “I watched (former Danville standout) Lauren Drennan go through this process. She was a role model to me.
“Watching her go through it made me realize I could do it.’’
Robinson admits playing college baseball at Southern Miss is a stepping stone to his ultimate goal of playing professional baseball.
But, his signing on Wednesday was also a time to remember the past.
“I just sat back and thought about it a little bit, I still remember walking into high school as a freshman, and now, I’m getting ready to graduate and I’m moving onto college,’’ he said. “Playing college baseball has always been something that was on my mind.
“I knew if I worked hard and gave it everything I had that I could go to school on a scholarship.’’
Robinson chose Southern Miss over Alabama-Birmingham, Missouri, Tulane and Vanderbilt.
For Verkler, she chose Illinois State over Eastern Illinois.
“Illinois State fits my needs both academically and athletically,’’ she said. “I want to go into teaching and it’s a great teaching school.
“On my official visit, I just fit in well with the team and the school.’’
This past weekend, Verkler set a pair of school individual records in 100-yard butterfly and 200 individual medley during Saturday’s sectional meet in Champaign.
Verkler will be representing the Vikings at the IHSA state meet this weekend.