May 23, 2012 – Congratulations to 18 Orange middle blocker Randi Leath, who soon will be sporting the Demon Blue of DePaul University in Chicago, where she was awarded both an academic and athletic scholarship to play for the school’s Division 1 volleyball program.
The 6’1″ high school senior from State College, Pa. was the last of the 18 Orange seniors to make a college commitment, a decision she said was delayed by her desire to find a school that met both her academic and athletic goals.
This fall, Randi, alongside her younger sister, Taylor, who plays for 17 Orange, both helped her State College Area High School Little Lions defeat long-time district rival Altoona to win the District 6 championships and advance to the state championship quarterfinals. She finished her senior year with 196 kills, averaging 2.1 kills a game, as well as 123 blocks, 92 digs and 26 aces.
Despite being a standout player in State College, Leath’s parents felt she was not getting the attention from college coaches that her talent deserved. As a result, the family made the decision to undertake a six-hour round trip commute to King of Prussia, Pa., two to three days a week, so the Leath sisters could play for Synergy and gain exposure on the national level.
The decision turned out to be the right one because it was at the Colorado Crossroads Junior National Qualifier in Denver that coaches from DePaul spotted Leath and began the recruiting process to woo her to the team.
But it was already late in the recruiting season for the class of 2012, and DePaul was out of athletic scholarships to offer Leath. Instead the university offered Leath an academic scholarship for her first year, followed by athletic scholarships beginning her second year.
“It is (lucky) because a lot of the recruiting stuff takes place much sooner,” State College coach Chad Weight told the Centre Daily Times, Leath’s local paper. “At the same time, I know for Randi, and with all the kids, the big thing was making sure she got the academia that she wanted. I know there were a lot of things out there for her, but she finally found what she wanted. Some of that can take some time.”
Leath, a National Achievement Scholarship finalist, was recently named the State College Area School District Faculty Scholar of the Class of 2012. She plans to study broadcast journalism in college.
At DePaul, she will play in the Big East Conference and be coached by Nadia Edwards, a former assistant coach at Ohio State who played on Penn State’s 1999 national championship team.
Synergy 18 Orange coach Missy McLinden said she’s pleased that Leath has found the perfect fit for her academic and volleyball goals, and she’s looking forward to seeing Leath in a Blue Demon uniform.
“Randi has made a big commitment this year in joining Synergy,” said Coach McLinden. “She had a very long commute coming down to us, yet every practice she made the most of her training, and she really improved. She has worked hard on the court this spring, and that hard worked turned into a great fit for her academically and athletically.”