When Katrina May applied to Purdue University last fall, she really didn’t think she’d end up there.
After all, the Columbus North senior wanted to pole vault in college, and the Boilermakers weren’t recruiting her.
That all changed after last month’s Hoosier State Relays, the unofficial state indoor track and field meet — on Purdue’s campus. May vaulted a personal-best 12 feet, 6 inches to finish second in the big-school division.
“At the indoor state meet, the Purdue coach came up to me and said that he was really interested in me going to Purdue,” May said. “So when he told me I’d be able to vault, I went on a surprise visit the next day and met with a lot of the team and talked with the coaches a lot, and after a lot of thinking, I realized it was my best choice.”
Earlier this week, May committed to the Boilermakers and coach Lonnie Greene. She’ll participate in a signing ceremony at 3:30 p.m. today in the North cafeteria.
May plans to major in engineering.
“I didn’t actually think I’d end up close to home,” May said. “I thought I’d go pretty far away, but I have the best of both worlds with a good engineering program and a good track program. Their academic facilities and their athletic facilities were really impressive. I’m very excited.”
As it turned out, Purdue wasn’t the only school to offer May a scholarship after the state indoor meet. Indiana University also came through with an offer.
“The engineering program (at IU) is brand new, and it’s not well known yet, so I had to go with the academic decision,” May said. “It was a very nice thing for them to do, and I know their (track) program is amazing, and it would be nice to be on their team, but from an academic standpoint, Purdue was the better choice.”
May also had an offer from Northeastern and was receiving interest from from Eastern Michigan and Indiana Tech. She also was looking at Harvard and Rose-Hulman, schools which do not offer athletic scholarships.
With a deadline looming to act on Northeastern’s offer, May made the decision to stay in state.
“I love the campus,” May said. “I never thought I’d go somewhere big, but all the people were great. It was a pretty stressful week when I was trying to decide. It’s a big weight off my shoulders to finally decide.”
Two weeks before the state indoor meet, May finished second in the all-around competition to help lead the Bull Dogs to the gymnastics state championship. She won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award for that sport.
Last spring, May finished sixth in the state in the pole vault. She holds North’s outdoor school record at 11-9.
“I’m hoping to go to the state meet and place 1 or 2, and I’m hoping to break the 13 barrier by the end of the season,” May said. “I’m hoping to get a big (personal record) this year and then when I go there (to Purdue) next year, an even bigger one.”
Three Columbus East seniors participated in a signing ceremony Wednesday in the school’s commons. Brandon Brooks plans to play football at Anderson, Shaunak Deshmukh will run cross-country and track at Trine and Sean Galligar will play football at Olivet Nazarene.
Today, five Columbus North seniors will participate in a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. Katrina May will pole vault for the track and field team at Purdue, Paige Littrell (DePauw) and Amy Weisner (Earlham) will play basketball, Mitchell Kelley will play football at Rose-Hulman and Anna Horak will run cross-country and track at DePauw.