By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
BRADFORD — Shay LaFollette made history at Bradford High School last week — and two of her classmates were also part of a very special day on the BHS campus.
LaFollette became the first Bradford athlete to sign a letter of intent with Division I school, while Brandon Wysong and Haley Patty made their college choices as well.
LaFollette signed her letter of intent to run for Northern Kentucky University.
“It is like a dream,” LaFollette said. This is a big day. It is a really big deal.”
That was not lost on her coach and father Tab LaFollette.
“I am not going to lie to you — being her dad, this is something special,” Tab LaFollette said. “It is kind of nice to be her dad and her coach.”
LaFollette, who has a 3.74 GPA, has made quite a name for herself.
She has been named to the Cross County Conference All-Academic team all four years, is a three-time state qualifier in track and two-time academic All-Ohio selection.
She is an indoor state qualifier and place, finished 16th last season in the New Balance Nationals in the Heptathalon. She is a two-time High School All-American in the Heptathalon and a Wendy’s Heisman state qualifier.
She has also rewritten the track record book at Bradford.
LaFollette has set records in the 100 meter dash (13.44), 100 hurdles (15.14), high jump (5-1), long jump (16-4), shot put (30-1 1-2 and is part of the record setting 1,600 relay team (4:23.27).
She also has the record for points in a season (366) and already has the career record for points (946) as well.
So, with the versatility she has demonstrated, it should come as no surprise LaFollette will compete as a heptathlete (five events) in college.
“I enjoy the different events,” Shay LaFollette said. “I probably started in the fourth grade. I think when I was in about sixth grade I competed in the pentathlon (10 events) and did really well.”
LaFollette said she felt at home immediately when she visited the NKU campus and the decision was an easy one.
“They got a jump on everyone else,” LaFollette said. “They contacted me before anyone else had. It is small. I really liked it when I visited there. I felt comfortable there.”
And NKU can’t wait to get LaFollette on campus and in uniform.
“Northern Kentucky is really excited about getting her,” Tab LaFollette said. “They haven’t had a heptathlete like her. If she had been there last year, she would have finished third in the conference. They are excited and can’t wait for her to get there.”
It is hard work rewarded.
“She probably started in the fourth grade,” Tab LaFollette said. “She has always done well. She has been a high school All-American twice and finished 16th (at nationals) last year.I think we had it figured Shay had gone over about 20,000 hurdles in her life preparing for this.”
LaFollette, one of the top hurdlers in the state, has high hopes for this spring.
“Probably, most people do know me as a hurdler,” she said. “I guess I would like to make it to state in two events this year — I think that is the goal.”
A fitting finish for a special athlete.
Wysong, the son of Jim and Kathy Wysong, will leave Bradford with 12 varsity letters.
iThe three-sport star will play baseball for Baldwin-Wallace University.
He said his choice of sport was easy.
“I have always loved baseball,” he said.
Wysong, the class valedictorian, has a 3.87 GPA and is four-time selection to the Cross County Conference All-Academic team.
He has been named to the All-Cross County Conference team in baseball and football.
After being named special mention All-Southwest District in football as junior, he was named second team All-Southwest District this past fall.
As a quarterback, he also holds the single-game passing record with 282 yards.
But, baseball is his true love and he knew Baldwin-Wallace, located in Berea, Ohio near Cleveland was the place for him.
I really liked it when I visited and I really liked coach Harrison,” Wysong said. “That (his playing time) is up to them, but I want to up there and make contribution right away.”
Wysong would also like to go out with a bang on the baseball diamond.
“It would be nice to have big tournament run this year,” Wysong said.
The daughter of Randy and Teresa is another three-sport star who excels in the classroom. She will play softball for Defiance College.
Patty has a 3.49 GPA and is another four-time selection to the Cross County Conference All-Academic team.
She has received CCC honors in volleyball and basketball, as well as being a key member of this year’s record setting girls basketball team that has already won 17 games.
The consummate team player, it is fitting that Patty has the basketball school record of assists, both for single season (85) and single game (10).
But, it is on the softball diamond where Patty really excels.
She has thrown several no-hitters and is considered to be one of the top pitchers in the Dayton area and was a first team All-CCC selection last year.
“I have always been a pitcher,” Patty said. ” I guess after I put the hard work in, I did (realized she could be pretty good). I definitely have high expectations for this spring. I want to have a big senior year.”
And when the time comes, Patty said the choice of Defiance was an easy one.
“I really liked it when I visited there,” Patty said. “This is a reward for all the hard work.”
All three athletes received ovations as they signed their letter of intent in the BHS cafeteria — a special day for three deserving athletes.