FAIRHOPE – St. Michael Catholic senior Tia Acker made her college decision official Wednesday afternoon in the high school’s gymnasium where she chose to keep her track talents on the …
FAIRHOPE – St. Michael Catholic senior Tia Acker made her college decision official Wednesday afternoon in the high school’s gymnasium where she chose to keep her track talents on the Gulf Coast and picked the South Alabama Jaguars over the UAB Blazers and Air Force Falcons.
Acker – who swept the sprint events at the Class 4A state championship in May, set the state meet record in the 200-meter dash and ran the fastest 400-meter time in the state regardless of classification – said she wanted to be valued as a recruit and South Alabama did just that.
“They made it very apparent that I was No. 1 on their list, and that they really wanted me,” Acker said after the ceremony. “And South is very impressive; its campus, the materials it has available for athletes, everything. It's very much the D1 experience.”
With half the basketball court filled with her classmates and friends, she put pen to paper on her National Letter of Intent to join the masses of student-athletes confirming their college commitments in the first wave of National Signing Days that started Nov. 9. However, it wasn’t before some dramatics.
A hat from each of her top three schools sat on the table in front of her. When prompted to choose, she first picked up the navy blue Air Force hat, and fluffed it as if to prepare to put it on. Instead, she put that one down, picked up the red South Alabama cap and put that on with a loud round of applause.
“That was crazy,” she said of the audience. “All day, people were like, ‘She's going this way. She's going here,’ and it was like really funny to hear people.”
With the ceremony over and done, it was time to get back to work, although Acker is still rehabbing from a torn ACL she suffered over the summer. Since her surgery in June, Acker said she recently got cleared to return to training although she’s still limited when she does get onto the field.
“We just started back two weeks ago. I'm getting to do some stuff and getting frustrated that I can't do other stuff, but we're taking it slow,” Acker said. “I can jog, I can do a bunch of weights; today's weights, yesterday was on the field and I can't do as much on the field. I can't do as much acceleration and stuff like that but I still do weights and am building my muscle back up.”
Although she’s still training her body to return to its former conditioning, her mind has stayed sharp and already laid out her goal for senior year: own all of the records.
“I want to break all my records – no, I want to break all of the records,” Acker corrected herself. “All the records for 4A, I want to break everything. I want to break all the state 4A records; I already have one down, I have the 200, so I want to break the 100 and the 400 and possibly break my own 200 record.”