Three Ephrata athletes announce college intentions

By on November 16, 2016
Ephrata High School seniors who signed their National Letters of Intent during the Early Signing Period included (left to right): Lexi Hershberger, New Haven softball; Zach Lefever, Pitt cross country/track & field; and Haley Schaller, Clarion cross country/track & field.

Ephrata High School seniors who signed their National Letters of Intent during the Early Signing Period included (left to right): Lexi Hershberger, New Haven softball; Zach Lefever, Pitt cross country/track & field; and Haley Schaller, Clarion cross country/track & field.

Ephrata High School celebrated the college signings of three of its athletes during the National Letter of Intent Early Signing period last Wednesday in a ceremony held at the high school.

As chronicled in last week’s Review, Zach Lefever, who recently finished fourth at the State Cross Country Championships, announced he will continue his career at Division One Pittsburgh. Joining him on the dais were fellow cross country and track athlete Haley Schaller and softball player Lexi Hershberger, both of whom will compete at the Division Two level.

Schaller will run cross country and track at Clarion while Hershberger will take her talents to the University of New Haven, located in Connecticut.

Schaller, who closed out her high school career finishing 35th at the District Three Run two weeks ago, said she considered Marywood and Ursinus before settling on Clarion.

“(Clarion) basically had all of the things I was looking for,” she said. ‘It had a good speech therapy program, which is what I plan to study, and I liked the coach and the team, as well as the area.”

A solid four-year contributor to the successful EHS track and cross country teams, the distance runner said she will work on improving her consistency with her workouts as she transitions to the college level.

“I don’t really have any specific goals yet, other than I guess to adjust,” she said. “If I have to improve anything I want more consistency with my workouts. I’m definitely going to work really hard over the summer.”

She’ll join an Eagles’ program that is up and coming but still has room to grow under second-year Coach Eric Laughlin.

“They are still building their program but I like that,” she said. “Because they are still building I don’t feel like I have to compete for a spot on the team. I’ll just be helping them to continue to build the program.”

Hershberger said she considered West Chester, Messiah and Bucknell before choosing to attend New Haven.

“I was at a softball recruiting clinic and the (New Haven) coach came down and talked to me,” she recalled. “She seemed really nice so I looked more into the college. When I went up there to visit I got to see the campus and it was really pretty. And also I’m planning on studying forensic science, and they have a real strong program there. It was a good fit.”

Hershberger, a catcher who owns a career batting average of .400, made news last Spring when she opted to play baseball instead of softball to hone her skills under highly-successful Mounts’ Coach Adrian Shelley.

While she said she learned a lot and made improvements in all areas of her game, an added bonus came late in the Spring when the Mounts went on to capture the District title and qualify for States.

“It was an awesome experience,” she said. “Looking back on it I am so glad I did it. I would not change any part of it. It was awesome just being part of a different team with a bunch of guys, which I’m not used to, and being challenged physically. And I got to be part of a dogpile, which was awesome.”

Through the experience, she improved her throws to second by as much as .3 seconds and offensively quickened her bat speed, which should help her immensely heading to the next level.

She plans to return to the EHS softball team in the Spring, but knows she still needs to work on her game prior to heading to New Haven.

“I’m mainly right now just working on my overall body strength and my speed and agility,” she said.

She’ll join a Chargers program that went 23-15 a year ago under Coach Jen Starek. They went to four-straight NCAA Tournaments from 2008 to 2011.

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