Teamates, friends: Lakeview girls choose colleges

CORTLAND — As best friends and leaders of the Lakeview Bulldogs softball team, both Avery Steiner and Tori Wells made their decisions to play at the next level.

Steiner signed her National Letter of Intent to play at the University of Illinois while Wells signed her NLI for the University of Findlay.

“All this recruiting starts really early on. I wanted to make a calculated decision,” Steiner said. “During my sophomore year, I committed to Illinois. I loved everything about the campus, atmosphere and the coaches especially.”

Steiner also looked at Kent State University, Charleston Southern and Ohio State University but ultimately decided on the Fighting Illini.

“I wasn’t needed much at all in their decisions,” Lakeview coach Vicki Lawrence said. “I’m really proud of what they have accomplished the last few years. They are both well-deserving of everything that they have earned so far.”

For Wells, the decision was even easier.

“The process was exciting. When I visited Findlay, I knew that was what I wanted as soon as I got there,” Wells said. “It was a small community there and I really liked that. Their coaching staff really believed in me and my talents.”

Wells was also recruited by Youngstown State University and Binghamton University, but already knew what she wanted.

For both girls, family was a big part in making these decisions.

“Family has been so supportive of my decision and this entire process. If I didn’t have my mom and dad helping me make the right decision, I don’t know where I’d be in life,” Steiner said.

Both girls now can focus on their grades and on having a great senior year during the spring.

“I can guarantee they will play just as hard as they did before. They will handle themselves just as before and will continue to work even harder. You couldn’t ask for two nicer, hard-working people. They aren’t happy with where they are any time, which makes them so great,” Lawrence said.

For Wells, her friendship with Steiner allowed both of them to become better people, players and leaders.

“Its honestly great to have me and Avery. We push each other to get better and be better. Its great to have two great leaders on the same team. You can help multiple people and I’m very thankful for the situation we’ve been in,” Wells said.