Fox Chapel girls basketball star Mathias makes it official, signs with Duke
Many pens have been uncapped and some probably have dried out since Erin Mathias gave a verbal commitment to Duke back in March 2011. It seems longer than that.
On Wednesday, Mathias grabbed a pen that worked to finally make the deal official.
With a poster of the Cameron Crazies as the backdrop and a Duke-themed cake nearby, the 6-foot-3 Fox Chapel senior basketball star signed her national letter of the intent to play for the Blue Devils, who offered her a scholarship when she was a rising freshman.
“It's been a long-time coming,” said Mathias, a first-team all-state pick as a junior.
“I never actually thought this day would come. It's kind of surreal knowing I will officially be going to Duke. Before it just seemed like a dream.”
Mathias, who averaged 17.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 4.4 blocks last season, said no other schools pursued her during the layoff between the commitment and signing day.
“I had some letters here and there, but no one approached me about (a scholarship),” the center said. “Duke believed in me since I was a freshman. A lot of coaches don't offer that early. I am thankful that they believed in me and waited three years for me.”
Other local news from NCAA signing day:
• Plum senior basketball standout Krista Pietropola signed with Youngstown State. The 5-11 guard averaged 16.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals last season. She is within 213 points of the Plum scoring record.
• Celina Sanks, Knoch's senior volleyball star, signed with Eastern Kentucky. The dominating outside hitter helped Knoch reach the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA playoffs this season. “It's nice this day is finally here; It's exciting, one of the final steps toward beginning my college career,” Sanks said. “I had some great memories this season. To end the season with everyone healthy was great. It was sad to have it end, but I couldn't have asked for much more.”
• Fox Chapel senior golfer Patrick Sheerer, who won the PIAA West Region title and placed seventh in the Class AAA state tournament this season, verbally committed to St. Bonaventure. He expects to sign Thursday. “I really liked their coach (John Powers); he's young and very energetic,” Sheerer said. “I visited there and really meshed with the players. I want to major in finance, and they just rebuilt their business building. They have a great program.”
• Kittanning senior wrestler Jason Nolf, a two-time PIAA champion with a 132-1 career record, plans to sign Thursday with Penn State. He gave a verbal commitment in July.
• St. Joseph senior Mallory Heinle signed to continue her basketball career at Division II Slippery Rock. The 6-1 forward averaged 19.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the local sports editor of the Valley News Dispatch. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.