Archive for Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BLHS senior signs with MidAmerica as two-sport star

February 14, 2007

Megan Tush had already decided to attend MidAmerica Nazarene University on a partial cross country scholarship as she stood in the University's batters box in late November.

Tush was interested in playing more than one varsity sport in college, and although she hadn't been a member of the high school softball team since her freshman season, she arranged for a tryout with MANU's softball coach, Steve Babinski.

"Aim it at my head," Babinski said from the mound, behind protective netting.

Big mistake.

Tush rocketed his next pitch straight into the contraption designed to protect bullpen pitchers.

"Good job," Babinski shouted.

A partial softball scholarship was soon offered.

Because Tush had not recently played varsity ball, Babinski had never seen her play.

"He said he liked what he saw and I seemed athletic and coachable," Tush said.

Tush plays center field during the summer months, but has focused on cross country since her second year in high school.

She owns two school records in track. During her sophomore year, she helped break the 4x800 meter relay record. The next year, she broke the school record in the javelin. This year, she has her sight set on the two-mile record.

"I was only 12 seconds off last year," Tush said.

MANU had several things going for it during the recruiting process.

"My dad went to school there," Tush said. "It is close to home (Olathe). I wanted to continue playing sports in college, and I knew I probably couldn't play at the D-I level, so I wanted a smaller school. I go to a Nazarene church, so it is pretty cool it is a Nazarene School."

Mid-America was also more flexible.

"I've gotten random offers from other schools," Tush said. "But no one would let me do both, because a lot of softball teams play in the fall and they didn't want me running at that time."

What will she bring to the program?

"I am a very determined athlete," Tush said. "I will work hard. I already ran with the cross country team when I went for a visit. I got along with all the girls. They have great team chemistry."

Tush hasn't yet been able to meet any players on the school's softball team.

Once she reaches the next level, the BLHS senior will have a difficult athletic juggling act to pull off, to say nothing of the acclimation process that comes with being a college freshman.

She will run cross country in the fall. The softball season begins in the fall, as well. She will not join up with the team until the winter, when cross country season is over. Babinski is fine with the arrangement.

Tush already has a little insight into her initial role with the softball team.

"When I tried out we talked a little bit," she said. "They have a center fielder that is coming back, but they need some other positions filled."

Left field is a likely destination for her.

An official signing was put on for Tush Monday morning at BLHS outside of the gymnasium.

Both her high school and college cross country coaches were in attendance and family and friends celebrated the achievement with cinnamon rolls and juice boxes.

Tush has many fond moments from her high school career. She reached state competition in cross country during her freshman and junior years, and this year the cross country team won the league championship.

Tush has a longer memory in regards to softball. She can remember hitting the ball in the yard with her father, Tom, at the age of three.

"He's played a pretty big role in my development," Tush said. "He pushes me a lot."

Tush will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the cross country program and $1,500 from the softball program. Tush was also offered $2,000 from the track team, but turned them down.

While her immediate future is set for now, 10 years into the future, Tush sees herself away from ball fields.

"I hope to be teaching somewhere," she said.

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