Richland signing/celebration ceremony – May 29, 2019

Richland High School seniors (front row, from left) Blake Henry, Veronica Eckroth and Elizabeth Brand announced their intent to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level in a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. 

Three Richland High School seniors confirmed their college intentions with a signing ceremony Wednesday inside the school’s library.

Elizabeth Brand, Clarion diving: Clarion University offered a powerful combination consisting of Brand’s intended major and a $42.7 million renovation of Tippin Gymnasium-Natatorium, which turned out to be too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“I chose Clarion because they had the best education program to offer,” Brand said. “I’m going to be studying early childhood education. Their diving program is one of the best in the area.”

At Richland, Brand lettered three years in swimming and two years in diving. Equipped with 10 years of gymnastics experience, Brand has thrived on the diving board by qualifying for the PIAA Championships the past two years. Brand earned her first District 6 championship in 1-meter diving this winter.

Brand felt at home on the Clarion campus.

“The campus was beautiful,” Brand said. “They’re remodeling the aquatic center. There’s going to be a brand new pool when I get there. I’m excited because there’s going to be new boards, and room for us to grow and learn.”

Already an experienced 1-meter diver, Brand will be asked to move up to the 3-meter platform in college.

Brand is the daughter of John and Erin Brand, of Richland Township.

Veronica Eckroth, Ashland diving: Eckroth found everything she was looking for at Ashland University in Ohio.

“What I saw at Ashland was a campus that wasn’t too big, but wasn’t too small, and it was very spread out,” Eckroth said. “I saw that they had my specific major, actuarial science. They had loving people that would accept me for who I am. I fell in love with the campus and everyone there.”

Still relatively new to diving, Eckroth found her calling in middle school.

“My diving background started in eighth grade. I didn’t know much,” she said. “I went to Clarion actually for a summer camp, then found my coach at Derry and Latrobe. 

“So I started going out there and just fell in love with the sport ever since.”

Eckroth, who will compete in the 1 and 3m springboard diving competitions, lettered four years in swimming/diving and golf, while earning three letters in softball. Eckroth won three District 6 titles in diving and has two school diving records. 

Eckroth is the daughter of Brad and Melissa Eckroth, of Richland Township.

Blake Henry, Mount Aloysius baseball: A close proximity to home and the opportunity to continue his baseball career drew Henry to the Cresson campus.

“It’s the closest to home. When I went there and visited the campus, it looked really nice,” Henry explained his decision to play for coach Kevin Kime, a Bishop McCort graduate. “I’m Catholic, so it fell into place.”

Henry was recruited as a catcher. The backstop, who collected a .312 career average, recorded 14 hits and 12 RBIs this past spring.

“Probably the people, they’re really nice,” Henry complimented the cordial hosts at Mount Aloysius. “Even when I met the team, they seemed really friendly. I felt at home.”

Henry, who lettered four years in baseball, twice in football and once each in soccer and wrestling, will major in physical therapy.

“I was always interested in sports. I’ve gone to many physical therapists when I got injured,” Henry said. “They helped me recover. I had my mom’s customers telling me Mount Aloysius has one of the best (physical therapy) programs around here.”

Henry is the son of Douglas and Niccola Henry, of Geistown.

Jake Oswalt is a copy editor for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11 

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