Division I dreams a reality for sisters

Brianna Timko saw her sister, Brooke, sign her National Letter of Intent to Kent State University’s gymnastics program back in November.

“It was exciting with all the support she got, with our friends and family,” Brianna said. “I knew this recruitment process before she went through it. It was good to go with it around the same time, to help each other out.

“I think I was more excited for her than I was for myself.”

Today, Brianna is following in her sister’s footsteps by signing her National Letter of Intent to play soccer for Xavier University.

The two McDonald High School seniors aren’t taking a traditional route to college. Neither of their two sports are offered by the Blue Devils’ Athletic Department.

Brooke has honed her skills at Olympic Dreams in Liberty under the guidance of co-owner Dawn Toussaint. It’s there where Brooke developed into an all-around athlete and soon-to-be integral part of the Golden Flashes program.

Meanwhile, Brianna latched on to Internationals Soccer based out of Akron. There, she honed her talents and became a viable Division I prospect. She plays on the Internationals’ 95 Red Team. All the girls on that team are signing with Division I programs, anywhere from Ohio State to Alabama to the Naval Academy to Akron.

Brianna, a left back (defensive player), said not playing with a traditional high school program has not hindered her, but may have helped her reach her NCAA dream.

“Around here, you don’t get as much recognition,” she said. “And, it has helped me reached the Division I kind of scholarship.

“… Coaches don’t go to high school games. They go to club events. If I stayed around here, I wouldn’t have got as far as I would have gotten today.”

Brooke said Toussaint’s contacts, along with sending out performance tapes to almost every NCAA Division I program, helped as well.

“My coach knows a lot of colleges,” Brooke said. “If I had a high school coach, I doubt if they would know as many coaches as my coach does at Olympic Dreams.”

The road to a Division I scholarship wasn’t an easy one – mixing the rigors of a competition schedule, practice and schoolwork – but one that will pay off once she gets to Kent State.

“It actually teaches you time management. It’s actually how it’s going to be in college, pretty much,” Brooke said.

Once she gets to KSU, she’ll be with a program ranked in the top 25, according to the Jan. 27 NCAA poll.

“I can’t wait to get there because they have so much fun,” Brooke said. “There’s all kinds of people there all the time watching. It looks like a lot of fun.”