Two Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond athletes announced intentions to play as Division I competitors at the collegiate level next year.
Cross country runner Layton Hall and softball player Makenzie Brown made commitments to attend their school of choice this past week.
Saturday, Oct. 31, Hall competed the IHSA Class 1A Cross Country Sectional at Hickory Point Golf Course to officially end his high school cross country running career.
The senior won the meet with a time of 15:27.6.
The ALAH Knight also competed in the unsanctioned ShaZam Cross Country Club Championships at the Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe Friday, Nov. 6.
Hall ran a 15:58.89 for fifth place.
The ALAH boys’ team, which ran under the name 4 City Striders, placed second with 102 points behind the Harvest Christian Academy team (90 points) that ran as the Elgin Holy Cow Athletics.
“I really didn’t have a goal in mind for the team,” Hall said in an interview with The News Gazette. “I was just really focusing on myself and if we did good as a team, it would just happen as it did. It’s a little disappointing getting second but it’s the first time we’ve ever been to state and we pulled out a second-place finish. I think that’s pretty impressive.”
The day before the ShaZam Cross Country Club Championships, Hall verbally committed to run for Indiana State next fall.
“I really like their coaching staff and they have put a really great team together,” Hall said in the interview. “They’re really friendly, and I wanted to be a part of that. I got to visit them on a junior day last year and I’m definitely glad that I’ve committed and that part of it is over. There’s definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders and I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Layton Hall will follow his older bother Logan Hall into colligate running, but in a different state. Logan Hall is currently a junior with the University of Illinois cross-country and track and field teams.
Layton’s personal-record time was achieved in the first meet of the season.
He ran a 14:53.1 in the STM Saber Corn Classic Invitational Aug 29.
In 2019, he ran a personal best time of 15:03.0, which was more than 21 seconds better than his 2018 personal-best time of 15:24.4. In 2017, he ran a personal-best time of 15:49.2.
The other Knight to commit to a D-I team was Makenzie Brown.
Brown committed to play softball for the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa in November 2019 but signed a letter of intent recently
“It means a lot, especially for my class,” Brown said in an interview with The News-Gazette. “Just adding on to that means a lot to the people in the community and to my family and myself.”
In 2019, Brown earned News-Gazette All-Area softball first-team honors but was not able to play during the pandemic in the spring.
“It’s a dream come true,” Brown said. “Ever since I was young I wanted to play Division I softball, and to realize that dream, it’s pretty amazing.”
But Brown proved what type of clutch player she could be as a sophomore. She helped the Knights win the Class 2A Newton Regional after defeating host Newton 7-3.
Brown pitched seven innings and gave up one earned run on two hits and three walks. She struck out 17.
For the 2019 season, she posted a 1.25 ERA and struck out 240 in 111 innings. She finished the season with an 11-5 overall record.
Though the Knights suffered a loss in the Newton Sectional to Breese Mater Dei, Brown again performed well.
Brown pitched six innings and giving up one earned run on four hits and eight walks. She struck out 14.
The Knights finished the season 24-7 under head coach Jerry Lane.
Brown also earned ALAH’s Rookie of the Year award as a freshman.