Waiting pays off for Glenelg's Young

Div. II school surprisingly offers full basketball ride as senior pondered choice

May 06, 2001|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Everyone was anxious for Glenelg senior Heather Young to make up her mind about college.

"Her mother and I told her she had to make a decision, and she kept holding out," said Glenelg girls basketball coach Ciaran Lesikar. "I asked her why she was holding out. What was she expecting to happen?"

Young was considering Division III Lynchburg College, where she could play basketball and receive an academic scholarship. But Young, a scrappy guard who averaged 11.2 points for the Class 1A state champions, just wasn't ready to commit.

"My dream was to always get a full [basketball] scholarship and play ball," Young said. "I was leaving every option open."

Young had never heard of Dowling College, located on Long Island's Connetquot River in the town of Oakdale, about a 50-minute drive from New York City.

That all changed on April 24.

Young didn't feel well that day at school and left early to rest at home.

"I get this phone call and it's Lesikar," Young said. "He tells me, `I have the greatest news in the world for you.' "

Over the holiday break last December, Glenelg went to Kellenberg, N.Y., to play in the I-95 Challenge tournament. Young had 12 points in Glenelg's 47-38 win over Kellenberg, the only game the Gladiators played because of an impending snow storm.

In the stands that day was Dowling head coach Joe Pellicane.

It is April 24, and Lesikar is at Glenelg when he receives a phone call. It's Pellicane.

"Is there any chance No. 15, Heather Young, is not signed yet?" Pellicane asks Lesikar.

Pellicane told Lesikar he had lost a recruit and had a full scholarship available at the Division II college that plays in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Lesikar makes the phone call to Young.

"I was shocked," Young said. "I didn't know what to say."

Young and Pellicane hooked up on the phone, then last Sunday Young and her mother, Debbie, took an early morning flight to New York. Glenelg's prom was the night before.

"I had about 45 minutes of sleep," Young said, "and that was on the plane."

The campus is small (roughly 5,000 students) and the gym is a little ways off campus, but Young liked it. She returned on Monday and she and her father, John, had a meaningful discussion.

"He made me realize a couple of things," Young said. "He gave me an hour to decide."

Young had always planned to major in sports management at college, and, as luck would have it, Dowling is starting that major in the fall.

Dowling was her choice.

Some dreams do come true.

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