MONONA — Ali Dorn felt at home close to home. McKenna Warnock believed playing style and proximity to family were essential factors when making her college choice.
The two Monona Grove seniors, sitting next to each other, put pen to paper on the first day of the fall signing period for NCAA Division I and II National Letters of Intent, making official their oral commitments at a signing ceremony Wednesday night at the high school.
Dorn, who won the WIAA Division 1 state championship in the girls 100-meter dash last June in La Crosse, signed with the University of Wisconsin for women’s track and field. Warnock, already the all-time leading scorer and rebounder for the Silver Eagles’ girls and boys programs, signed with the University of Iowa for women’s basketball.
“I think that over the past couple months, I’ve realized how many kids don’t have this opportunity,” Dorn said. “For me, being able to have this opportunity is extremely amazing. It seriously brings tears to my eyes. ... The main feeling I have is thankfulness. All the work I’ve put in for the past four or five years has truly paid off in the way I always wanted it to.”
Dorn chose UW over the University of Minnesota.
“Running track to represent Wisconsin has always meant so much to me,” Dorn said. “So, being able to continue representing the state of Wisconsin, I truly take pride in and (is something) I can’t wait to do.”
Dorn’s defense of her state title is up in the air, however. She said she tore the anterior cruciate ligament and the two menisci in her right knee during volleyball season. She hopes to compete late in the spring prep track season, but acknowledged that might not be possible.
Warnock — a 6-foot-1 guard/forward who narrowed her choices to Iowa, Stanford, Arizona, Marquette and UW before orally committing to Iowa last month — said she will be near her grandparents, Bernie and Brenda Coder, who live in Muscatine, Iowa.
“It, honestly, is a dream come true to play, especially in the Big Ten (Conference),” Warnock said. “To get to play against Wisconsin, (my) hometown, right here, is really amazing. My family is from Iowa, so they can come to visit. I think overall it was a really great fit.”
Iowa coach Lisa Bluder’s fast-paced offensive philosophy also appealed to Warnock, one of 50 girls listed on the 2019 Naismith High School girls basketball national watch list.
“I love their style of play,” she said. “The coaches are amazing; they are really great supporters. They want me to be the best player I can be and they are really great people, as well.”
Silver Eagles girls basketball coach Tyler Kuehl said Warnock has displayed outstanding leadership as a three-year captain, adding: “I think any coach would dream about coaching a player of her capabilities.”
Other area Division I women’s basketball commitments included Monroe’s Sydney Hilliard (UW) and two-time WIAA Division 2 state champion Beaver Dam’s Tara Stauffacher (UW), Paige Schumann (Eastern Illinois) and Aly Van Loo (North Dakota).
Waunakee had 11 individuals participate Wednesday (including Division III). Signings included Nate Stevens (baseball, Arkansas); Kiana Schmitt (volleyball, Creighton); Maddie Farnsworth (women’s soccer, Butler); and Reagan Hoopes (women’s cross country and track and field, Utah State).
Other area Division I women’s volleyball commitments included Middleton’s Lily Welti (Saint Louis University), DeForest’s Sophee Mink (High Point University) and Marshall’s Bailey Neuberger (Southern Illinois, signing Sunday).
Division I women’s swimming commitments included McFarland’s Alexandra Moderski (Missouri); Madison West’s Katrina Marty (Arizona State); Madison Edgewood’s Kaitlyn Barth (Nebraska) and Issy Petersen (Butler); Mount Horeb’s Grace Bennin (Minnesota) and Caroline Smith (Western Illinois); and Middleton’s Hannah Aegerter (Illinois), Makenna Licking (Illinois State) and Emily Keebler (Illinois State).
Division I men’s swimming commitments were made by Lodi’s Desmon Sachtjen (Minnesota); Madison West’s Wes Jekel (UW), Henry Miller (Kentucky) and Jaden Weiss (Seattle University); and Middleton’s Andrew Martin (Xavier).