Altoona Area High School track and field throwing standout Makenzie Wilt picked Indiana University of Pennsylvania for college because of the school's friendly atmosphere.
"It's kind of close to home, my step-sister goes to school there, and I have a lot of other friends going there,'' Wilt said of IUP.
One of those friends will be Wilt's long-time Altoona High track and field teammate, Kelly Davis, who will sprint for the IUP women's track and field team.
"Kelly Davis and I are really good friends,'' Wilt said. "I'm going to study secondary history education, and I'd like to be a teacher, preferably at the middle-school level. I like working with kids of that age.''
In Wilt and Davis, the IUP women's track and field team will be acquiring two very talented athletes. Wilt was a District 6-AAA champion in the discus in her senior year at Altoona this past spring, and Davis won 6-AAA championships in both the 100 and 200 dashes in all three of her high school seasons - sophomore through senior.
Wilt was also a four-year standout for the Altoona girls volleyball program, while Davis was a solid contributor as first player off the bench last winter for the Altoona girls basketball team.
"I want to go up there and improve my distances in both the discus and shot put,'' Wilt said of her throwing goals at IUP. "I would like to throw the shot in the upper 30s [feet] and the discus in the 130s. I'd like to make an impact on the team anyway that I can.''
Both Wilt and Davis made positive impacts on Altoona's track and field program for the past several years.
"I was really happy with how I did in high school, and I hope to get a lot better,'' said Davis, who set a girls' school record in the 100 (12.3 seconds), and also holds sophomore, junior and senior class girls records for that event. "My favorite event is the 100, and I want to break 12 seconds in that event in college.''
Davis will start her IUP years as an exercise science major this fall, but she will take up a criminology major/psychology minor beginning next year, with her career goal that of becoming a forensic psychologist.
"They're good kids, good athletes, and good students,'' Altoona girls track and field coach Steve Rhodes said of Wilt and Davis. "They were both two good senior leaders this year, and they're both three-year letterwinners who were very important members of the team.
"Kelly Davis dominated the sprint events for three years in District 6, and Makenzie Wilt improved each year in the discus. Her goal was to get to the state tournament, and she realized that goal this year as a senior.''