Created:Tuesday, November 12, 2013 11:05 p.m.CDT
Updated:Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:47 p.m.CDT
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PR's Potts will sign gymnastics scholarship with NIU

Prairie Ridge senior Ashley Potts competes at the Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament in May in Minneapolis for Huntley Unlimited Gymnastics School. Potts will sign her NCAA national letter of intent with Northern Illinois University on Thursday.
Prairie Ridge senior Ashley Potts competes at the Junior Olympic National Invitational Tournament in May in Minneapolis for Huntley Unlimited Gymnastics School. Potts will sign her NCAA national letter of intent with Northern Illinois University on Thursday. (Photo provided)

Ashley Potts looked around the Minneapolis Convention Center in May and the nerves kicked in.

Potts, a Level 10 competitor in the Junior Olympic National Invitation Tournament, saw the numerous college coaches in the crowd.

“It was nerve-racking,” said Potts, now a senior at Prairie Ridge. “I realized they were watching me and I didn’t want to mess up.”

Potts, competing out of Huntley Unlimited Gymnastics School, did not falter. She had what she considered her best meet of the year, a point noticed by many of the coaches in attendance. Potts recently committed to Northern Illinois University, one of four NCAA Division I schools on her list, and will sign with the Huskies for a full athletic scholarship on Thursday.

The NCAA early signing period for baseball, basketball, golf, softball, tennis, volleyball and wrestling, starts Wednesday and runs through next Wednesday. Athletes attending D-I or D-II schools on scholarship can sign during that period.

Potts does not compete in high school gymnastics, only with HUGS in club meets. She started in gymnastics at age 1 and trained at Crystal Lake Gymnastics Training Center up to eighth grade, when she moved to HUGS. She works with coach Mario Noguez at the gym.

“When she made it to Junior Olympics, she got a lot of college interest there,” Noguez said. “She’s a very good all-around competitor. Her strength is her love for the sport and the effort she puts into it. It makes it easy to coach her. She’s such a hard-working kid, that’s her best asset.”

Potts was also being recruited by Eastern Michigan, Rutgers and Southeast Missouri State, but liked NIU the best.

“I like that they have a good football program, that makes it more fun,” Potts said. “I’m close to home and my parents [Jeffrey and Jennifer] can come to meets.”
Sign Here!

Here is a list of Northwest Herald area athletes who can sign their NCAA national letters of intent with NCAA D-I and D-II scholarship schools in the early signing period, which starts Wednesday. This list will be updated if some athletes are missing.

Baseball
Troy Cantu, Huntley…Ill.-Springfield (D-II)
Nick Constantino, Huntley…Drury (Mo.) University (D-II)
Cody Freund, McHenry…Chicago State (D-I)
Eric Luecht, Huntley…Lewis University (D-II)
Mark Skonieczny, Huntley…Illinois (D-I)
Matt Sullivan, Huntley…Chicago State (D-I)

Gymnastics
Ashley Potts, Prairie Ridge…Northern Illinois (D-I)

Softball
Alyssa Lach, Jacobs…Butler (D-I)

Volleyball
Ali Frantti, Richmond-Burton…Penn State (D-I)
Lauren Leverenz, Crystal Lake Central…Saint Louis (D-I)
Avalon Nero, Crystal Lake South…Troy (D-I)
Krissy Pratt, Crystal Lake Central…Union (Tenn.) University (D-II)
Ashly Schmitt, Johnsburg…McKendree (D-II)
Meghan Seymour, Cary-Grove…Northern Michigan (D-II)
Nicole Slimko, Crystal Lake South…Bowling Green (D-I)

Wrestling
Garrett Sutton, Richmond-Burton…Michigan (D-I)

Men’s Basketball
Amanze Egekeze, Huntley…Belmont University (D-I)

Women’s Basketball
Sam Andrews, Huntley…Truman (Mo.) State (D-II)

Women’s Golf
Lexi Harkins, Crystal Lake Central…North Carolina (D-I)