BY CHAD DARE
Schlarman Academy’s Jesse Hahne knows signing an NCAA Division I National Letter of Intent is once in a lifetime experience.
And that’s why, for him, choosing which school to sign with was so difficult.
Ultimately, the Hilltopper senior committed to Illinois State and he made if official on Monday with his official signing in the Shebby Gymnasium.
“It was a tough decision,’’ Hahne said. “I had three main schools for a long time. I thought endlessly about it, I prayed about it and I talked about it with my coaches and parents.’’
Hahne selected Illinois State over Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois.
“I had pros and cons for all three schools,’’ Hahne said. “I couldn’t see myself going wrong with any of the three.
“I just got a gut feeling that Illinois State was the one for me.’’
Hahne said a factor in his decision was that Illinois State coach Jeff Bovee was one of the first to contact him.
“I really like coach Bovee and it sounds like I have a promising future with him,’’ Hahne said. “He really feels like I can make an impact at Illinois State.’’
Hahne quickly admits that the experience was a little overwhelming, but also very rewarding.
“All the attention from the schools and programs is really nice, but it’s also been something that I’ve been thinking about non-stop for the past year,’’ he said. “Now, I’m going to be able to focus on my senior year of track.’’
Hahne, who was sixth in the Class 1A state cross country meet this past fall and fifth two years ago, is following the same path of former Schlarman standout Scott Krapf.
“I talked with him before I committed and it helped reassure me about my decision,’’ Hahne said. “I’ve been told by a number of people that I’m following in the footsteps of Scott.
“He was able to do really well at Illinois State and that helps me realize that I can do really well there as well.’’
Hahne, who has finished 10th in the 3,200-meter run at the last two IHSA Class 1A State track meets, knows it’s going to be a challenge running for an NCAA Division I program.
“It’s going to be tough, this isn’t just Class 1A cross country or track,’’ he said. “You will be running against the best of the best, and that is something I looking forward to doing in college.’’