Three ADM athletes make their collegiate commitments official on National Signing Day
Before the ADM community celebrated Veterans Day, they were able to celebrate the athletic continuation of three Tiger athletes. It was early National Signing Day on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and for Nate Mueller, Ashlyn Watt and Alexa Ebeling, they made things official by signing their respective letters of intent.
Nate Mueller: Iowa State University Men's Cross Country
Where the storied cross country career of Nate Mueller ends at the high school level, it officially begins at the collegiate level. Looking back, it was certainly a career worth noting for Mueller. The now-senior became the first-ever runner in Raccoon River Conference history to capture the conference meet crown four straight years. He graced the state meet all four years as well, becoming just the second ADM boys runner in program history to earn back-to-back individual state meet titles. Now, all of that has cultivated in a collegiate commitment.
"It feels great and felt great announcing it," Mueller said. "It was nice to do this with friends and family around."
Mueller took a big step forward in his running career this past summer when he clocked his fastest two-mile time of his career at 9:10 at a national showcase in Arizona. From there collegiate programs flocked to the phone to contact Mueller including teams like Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, Colorado and Iowa State.
"That's the experience I was looking for when I was working out trying to get myself on the radar of college teams," Mueller said. "It was a relief and now I don't have to worry about that and just focus on running."
Now, after leaving the ADM boys cross country program with the fastest 5K time in history (15:15), he sets his sights on Ames and Iowa State.
"The coaches had a lot of belief in me and it's not too far from home," Mueller said. "The guys on the team too are great and I felt like I really fit in there. The facilities played a part too, I've always wanted to go somewhere where they're building a legacy and putting a focus on their distance running."
Mueller will now join an Iowa State squad fresh off of three consecutive Big 12 Conference Championship which included an All-American in Edwin Kurgat last season.
Ashlyn Watt: Minnesota State University Soccer
The strong career of ADM's Ashlyn Watt on the soccer pitch has now borne collegiate fruit as the senior made her commitment to Minnesota State University official. Watt has been an impactful player to the ADM roster ever since her arrival onto the high school scene. Prior to COVID-19, which wiped out her junior season, Watt started varsity each of her prior two years in high school.
Through those two years, Watt has accumulated 50 goals and 19 assists. Watt has been fairly efficient in her work striking a 41 percent shot on goal mark. Now, all that work has paid off in an official commitment to Minnesota State in Mankato.
"It feels so great, it's a lot of stress off of my shoulders. I'll miss the thrill of high school but I'm happy about where I'm headed and wouldn't change it for anything," Watt said. "Luckily I was able to commit before COVID-19 but it has been pretty crazy."
The decision for Watt came down to Drake or Minnesota State, a choice that ended with the latter.
"The coaches are so sweet and the campus is amazing," Watt said. "The players are great and the team is just so successful and amazing."
As Watt nears her time as a collegiate athlete there are many things to look back on through the journey.
"Being here at ADM has helped me a lot in getting ready for the next level," Watt said. "The coaches here are amazing and the culture of getting to state or getting near state has really helped me prepare for college."
Now Watt enters a program with 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and 13 consecutive seasons with at least 20 wins or more. The Mavericks have captured five regular-season conference titles and nine straight NCAA tournament appearances in the past nine years.
Alexa Ebeling: University of Iowa Gymnastics
Alexa Ebeling will be part of the women's gymnastics team in Iowa City.
"It feels so great, it's just been a long journey to get here," Ebeling said. "Luckily I went through the recruiting process before COVID-19 but practices were odd with Zoom practices and a month off."
Atmosphere for schools can be a big factor in the decision-making for prospective athletes and it had a big impact on Ebeling.
"I really enjoyed the campus there and I love the coaches," Ebeling said. "I have a strong connection with the coaches and going through camps over the past summers, I've met the teammates and have really clicked with them."
Coaches in general have been big for Ebeling throughout her high school tenure.
"I've had a lot of different coaches but the past two years my coaches have really helped me reach my goals and where I want to be," Ebeling said.