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Academics were No. 1 for Brooks

Jun. 7—It was a decision Savana Brooks didn't take lightly. Would she play basketball or softball in college?

"It was a very tough choice between softball and basketball," Brooks said. "I love both of those sports."

She had good reasons to be attached to those two sports before choosing to play basketball at Ohio Northern University.

She was the Northwest Conference Player of the Year in softball as a junior and first-team All-NWC as a senior.

She is the career leader in batting average, home runs and runs batted in at Allen East and as a junior had an incredible game in which she hit three home runs, two of them in the same inning, and drove in eight runs.

In basketball, she was first-team All-NWC as a junior and senior as well as an honorable mention All-Ohio and scored 1,300 points.

Volleyball was her third sport and she holds the Allen East career record in that for digs.

Add all that up, plus a 4.08 grade point average, and she is The Lima News 2024 Girls Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Selecting where to go to college and which sport to play was a big decision but focusing on academics has always been bigger for Brooks.

"Academics is the top priority of mine over sports. My grades are very important compared to that," she said.

"Before every practice and after every game I'd come home and do my homework. I focused on school and then, after that, came all my sports activities, which I managed to balance every year."

Academics played a role when she chose Ohio Northern. After job shadowing a pharmacist twice during high school, she decided she wanted to major in pharmacy and ONU has a school of pharmacy.

"I enjoy math and science and pharmacy is based on that," Brooks said. "When I got the opportunity to job shadow a pharmacist I really enjoyed how they communicated with patients in finding the best fitting medication.

"I enjoy the pharmacy environment. I feel like I can fit in and see myself doing that in my future," she said.

She also got good vibes about Ohio Northern's basketball program and coaches when she took a visit, which confirmed her decision to enroll there and play basketball.

With her high school being only eight miles from Ada, she had played at the ONU Sports Center in team camps. And there was a family connection.

Her uncle Jim Conrad, a standout at Perry High School, played at Ohio Northern from 2001 to 2004 and ranks No. 2 on the Polar Bears men's basketball career scoring list with 1,918 points. Her aunt, Kendra (Bailey) Conrad was the leading scorer on ONU's women's basketball team in the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 seasons.

"I watched their alumni games and it was always fun to see them playing in a gym where I will be playing in the future," Brooks said.

The other members of the girl Scholar Athlete team are Myka Aldrich (Ottawa-Glandorf), Andrea Burgei (Kalida), Jessa Burgei (Ottoville), Kelly Cooper (Shawnee), Grace Goecke (Spencerville), Cali Gregory (Crestview), Mary Hoersten (Perry), Rose Kottapalli (Shawnee), Lyv Lindeman (Delphos Jefferson), Anne Oliver (Bath), Abby Stechschulte (Columbus Grove), Maisie Strawser (Lima Senior), Tatum Walsh (Bath) and Aubrey Young (Allen East).

OSU-Lima is a co-sponsor of The Lima News Scholar Athlete team and offers scholarship money for use on its campus to the top 30 scholar athletes.