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Sisul accepts offer from Utah State to play softball, while Wedin is heading to Saint Mary's College to play women's basketball

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - La Salle Prep's Taycee Wedin (left) and Hannah Sisul signed National Letters of Intent to compete in NCAA Division I teams next year -- Wedin to play basketball at Saint Mary's and Sisul to play softball at Utah State.La Salle Prep's Hannah Sisul and Taycee Wedin confirmed what their families and friends had known for some time – they're taking their athletic talents out of state when they start college next year.

The two NCAA Division I prospects made their decisions official on Wednesday afternoon when Sisul signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Utah State University and Wedin signed to play women's basketball at Saint Mary's College of California.

While other athletes will wait until the regular signing period in April to commit officially, Sisul and Wedin took advantage of the weeklong early signing period that runs through Wednesday.

"I didn't want to wait any longer," Wedin said of her decision to play for the Gaels of the West Coast Conference. "I know I was certain about this decision, so this was just the right time for me."

Wedin was named the Northwest Oregon Conference's co-Player of the Year with teammate Aleah Goodman before leading La Salle to last season's OSAA Class 5A girls' basketball state championship. The 5-foot-9 shooting guard averaged 18.9 points, 3.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game for the Falcons as a junior and is recognized as one of the state's most prolific outside shooters.

Wedin also received scholarship offers from Arizona, Clemson, Texas Tech and Washington, and was talking with Oregon and UCLA, but her recruiting story took an unexpected turn on March 18 -- eight days after the state championship final -- when she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a training session.

"I was devastated when the injury happened, but I tried not to panic too much," Wedin said. "When I had my injury, some of the schools were distant. They didn't necessarily drop off, but they were definitely more distant."

Saint Mary's coach Paul Thomas was an exception, making a trip to Happy Valley for an in-home visit with Wedin a week after her knee surgery and assuring her that the Gaels' scholarship offer still stood.

"I was really thankful for that," Wedin said.

If Wedin had any uncertainty about committing to Saint Mary's, it vanished in mid-June after she made her official visit to the private school in Moraga, California.

"I just knew it was the right fit for me," said Wedin, who plans to study physical therapy. "I really connected well with the coaching staff and Coach Thomas, especially. I met the whole team, and the girls are super-awesome.

"I just feel like I could actually contribute to the team and make a diference in their program."

Sisul, named the Northwest Oregon Conference softball Player of the Year after leading the Falcons to a 17-11 record and a berth in last season's 5A playoffs, plans to study medicine at Utah State while playing for coach Steve Johnson's Aggies of the Mountain West Conference.

"I've been looking at Utah State since my freshman year," Sisul said. "When I went there to visit, I definitely knew it was the perfect school."

Sisul had considered Stanford and Oregon City, but said her choices ultimately came down to either Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles or Utah State in Logan, Utah.

"It's nice to be done with recruiting and not have to worry about where I'm going to go to school," Sisul said. "I've worked my whole life for this. It's been my dream since I was a little kid, and having it done is awesome.

"Utah State got second in the Mountain West last season and was one win away from getting into the NCAA Tournament. It's a program on the rise. They've been getting better every season, and I'm hoping that when I get there, we'll be playing in the NCAA Tournament."

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