If you read a list of Alexis Ebersole's accomplishments at Altoona with the cross country and track and field programs, your jaw might drop a little bit.
The colleges came a calling, but when it came down to picking, academics were at the forefront.
"Their biology program was the deciding factor," said Ebersole, who signed a national letter on?Wednesday to attend Robert Morris University. "They offered me my major and a chance to compete [athletically]."
Ebersole is a four-year letterwinner for coach Tabitha Quinn's cross country team and a three-time state qualifier who holds both the junior and senior records at Altoona's home course.
"She is a very academic person," Quinn said. "Their program fits her needs. It's a good fit, academically and athletically for her."
Ebersole, who was also looking at LaSalle and Slippery Rock, will run cross country and track and field at Robert Morris.
"I?had a decision to make before signing day. I sat down and weighed all the options. Robert Morris was better for me," she said.
Steve Rhodes, Ebersole's track and field coach, felt Robert Morris went after Ebersole with a lot more conviction than the other schools.
"It just became evident that they were more interested in her down the stretch," he said. "She is a kid who learned early to balance her academic responsibilities with her athletics. That is why she will be successful over there. She is one of those kids you really enjoy having on your team."
Ebersole, who likes the fact that there are some Altoona alumni at Robert Morris, is a three-time District 6 qualifier and two-time District 6 placewinner in the 800 run.?She has also competed at the Penn Relays in the 1600 meter relay, which Quinn believes will help her make the transition to college.
"The competitions that we have gone to here [at Altoona] have given her a good taste of what she might expect to see with some of the collegiate runners that have been at our meets," Quinn said. "That conference [Northeast] will be a good fit for her."
Ebersole, a two-time winner of the Gioiosa Award at Altoona - which is given to the team's most valuable runner - believes her scholastic experience has prepped her for college life.
"It definitely introduced me to the aspect of putting in hard work and cooperating with your team to get somewhere," she said. "