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WARREN DILLAWAY | Star Beacon

St. John's Sydney Carpenter (2) drives to the basket as Beachwood's Taylor Blackwell (20) during a game earlier this season in Saybrook Township.

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Many high school athletes are not in control of their futures, especially in this day and time, but that did stop St. John senior Sydney Carpenter from taking control of her’s.

Carpenter recently committed to continuing her basketball and academic careers at Hiram College.

“Every year, thousands of high school basketball players pick where they want to play in college and it’s always been my goal since I was younger to play in college, and all of my hard work just led up to this point,” Carpenter said. “I visited a few colleges and did a lot of thinking, but Hiram seemed like the best college for me and I'm really excited to play in college and for what’s ahead in my future.”

Carpenter said Westminster College was also in consideration and she went on several visits to other schools like Notre Dame College and Edinboro University, but Hiram eventually swayed her over to Terrier territory.

“I liked the campus, and when I visited there I met with the team and the coaches and they all just seemed like they really wanted me there,” Carpenter said. “I felt really welcome and it felt like Hiram was best for me.

“... Going to college, it’s not just about basketball. It’s about other things, too, and so Hiram just best suited me in everything.”

From her freshman to senior year at St. John, Carpenter transformed into one of the better players in Ashtabula County. She emerged onto the scene during her sophomore season as an elite 3-point shooter, nailing 51 triples, the third most in the county.

She took over as the team’s point guard and orchestrated the offense as a junior. In her senior year, Carpenter led the county with 3.8 assists per game and 52 made 3-pointers.

She earned first-team all-county and second-team all-district selections, and was named an all-Ohio honorable mention.

“Syd absolutely loves basketball and her dedication to the game and all of her hard work has allowed her to continually evolve as a player,” Heralds coach Nick Iarocci said. "She represents St. John and the game of basketball exactly the way you’re supposed to. We are so excited and happy for her.”

The Terriers, a member of NCAA Division III’s North Coast Athletic Conference, are coming off a 7-19 season. They won at least 10 games during each of the previous four seasons, including a 17-9 campaign in 2016-17.

The battle for playing time won’t be an easy one, as Hiram did not have a single senior on its 2019-20 roster.

“My goal for my freshman year is to come in and go to practice, just like high school, go to practice every and put all my effort in,” Carpenter said. “Hopefully I’m going to make the most of it and I can't wait. The team seems really nice and I just can't wait to play with them and finally play in college, because that's all I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was younger.”

Carpenter is undecided in her field of study, but there is one thing she knows for certain.

“I definitely am going to miss playing for St. John,” she said. “Being there my whole life, I’m going to miss all my teammates and all my coaches and everything they’ve ever done for me. But, I mean eventually everything comes to an end and you have to move on.

"I’m moving onto bigger things, but I’ll never forget all the memories and all the things all my coaches ever have done for me. Playing for St. John will always be special to me.”

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