Brown County High School is sending seven athletes on to play in college next year, and it’s a trend that the school hopes to see grow.

Records of students and alumni displayed in the Larry C. Banks Memorial Gymnasium give athletes goals to shoot for in high school, Athletics Director Mark Bruner said. He wants to inspire students in a similar way by posting a board showing local athletes who have gone on to play at the next level.

He wants the public and students to understand that coming from Brown County isn’t a handicap on future success.

“A lot of Brown County athletes really don’t understand what’s out there,” he said. “I think once we start getting the word out, we’re going to have a lot more interest, a lot more students pursuing the athletic field in college along with their education.”

At least four of the seven athletes going on to play next year are receiving some kind of financial help from their schools, though not necessarily directly tied to athletics, Bruner said.

Matthew Redmond will play baseball at Franklin College. The financial assistance he’s receiving is tied to academics, but he has had help getting it through Franklin’s athletic program, Bruner said.

But to get that attention and help, a student athlete first has to excel in high school classes.

The primary focus at Brown County is academics, Bruner said. All seven of the athletes who signed to play in college this year also did well academically.

The process of playing after college usually starts with a college coach contacting the high school coach about one of their athletes, Bruner said.

Bruner coached Bristen Dial to the state wrestling championship this year. The senior was approached at the semistate meet by a Wabash College coach.

Wabash wasn’t the only school that wanted to recruit Dial, but Dial said their academic programs sold him on the school, and he was able to get a non-athletic scholarship.

Athletics can provide opportunities or openings that some students wouldn’t have otherwise, said Eagles track and field Head Coach Rob Abraham, who also coaches cross country.

“The most important thing for me is to make sure they get a solid education, and they can do something with it,” he said. “The bonus — how I look at it — of getting to play sports in college is an awesome situation. It’s changed some of their lives.

“You always hear stories about kids who go away to college, and all of a sudden they’re back half way through the school year — they flunked out or they did this or they did that,” Abraham said. “I can happily say that I haven’t really had that within my program.”

Where they're going

Members of the Brown County High School class of 2016 who signed with college sports teams:

  • Sam Francis, Hanover College, cross country and track
  • Corrissa Proctor, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, cross country and track
  • Cole Chudy, Colorado Christian College, cross country and track
  • Collin Hoskins, Indiana State University, track
  • Mathew Redmond, Franklin College, baseball
  • Aubrey Seaman, Franklin College, golf
  • Bristen Dial, Wabash College, wrestling
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Ben Kibbey is a Brown County transplant from the cornfields of central Ohio. He covers county government, business, outdoors, sports and general news.