Earlier in this pandemic, I wrote a feature on the six Fisher alumni currently roaming the ranks of Division I athletics. An impressive number given the Bunnies carry an enrollment of fewer than 200.
Perhaps the next such school we should be talking about is Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond. The Knights are producing a D-I factory of their own despite a student population of just under 300.
At least four current or former ALAH athletes presently hold ties to the D-I sports world. On the graduate side, Logan Hall is a junior with the Illinois cross-country and track and field teams, while freshman Kenli Nettles currently is in the transfer portal after a stint with the Iowa women’s track and field program.
The Knights’ Class of 2021 holds a pair of future D-I competitors as well in Makenzie Brown and Layton Hall. The former signed Friday with Tulsa softball, and the latter — Logan’s brother — is committed to run at Indiana State.
“It means a lot, especially for my class,” Brown said. “Just adding on to that means a lot to the people in the community and to my family and myself.”
It seems like eons ago that Brown was a 2019 News-Gazette All-Area softball first-team pick, given she missed out on her junior season because of the pandemic. Brown was stellar for the sectional-qualifying Knights that year, posting a 1.25 ERA and striking out 240 in the circle across 111 innings. The Tulsa staff first took notice of Brown at a June 2019 Exposure Softball Event. She committed to the Golden Hurricane in November 2019.
“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.”
Brown didn’t think she was worthy of such a roster spot until D-I coaches started reaching out in droves. She also had interest from Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Eastern Kentucky, Ball State and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
“I definitely want to develop a down pitch,” Brown said of her pre-college plans. “Having a drop curve that’s effective whenever I go will be crucial to my success.”
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.