Indians' Buser finds out she's D-1 for EKU

February 14, 2008|By ANDREW MASON

All those first-place medals Rachel Buser has won in recent years have proven to be worth almost their weight in gold.

The Berkeley Springs senior is set to sign a letter of intent today to continue her running career at Eastern Kentucky University as an NCAA Division I full-scholarship athlete.

"I've always wanted to run D-I," said Buser, a 12-time West Virginia state champion in track and cross country. "I didn't know if I'd get a full ride or not, but it happened."

She said it made all the difference in choosing Eastern Kentucky over such schools as Louisville, Ohio and West Virginia.

"It was a lot of pressure, trying to figure out where I wanted to go and where I fitted in the best," Buser said. "My top choice was Louisville, but then they didn't offer me anything, so I had to move on since they were out of state.


"But I liked Eastern Kentucky a lot."

She visited her future home for the first time three weeks ago.

"Everything was really nice and new, and everyone was really friendly, and it was just a really nice atmosphere," Buser said. "And the coaches there know what they're doing."

Rick Erdmann, who coached at Hagerstown Junior College from 1971 to 1979, is in his 28th year as head track and cross country coach at Eastern Kentucky. Under his guidance, the Colonels have won 22 Ohio Valley Conference titles in women's cross country.

Buser, who is one of only two girls in West Virginia history to win four state cross country titles, said she's excited to join the program.

"Obviously, we're pleased to have her," Erdmann said. "She had a great high school career."

She still has a season of outdoor track remaining at Berkeley Springs.

"I want to get my times down. I've always wanted to break 5 minutes in the mile," said Buser, who has personal records of 2:19 for 800 meters, 5:08 for 1,600 and 10:57 for 3,200.

"She had several offers and just made up her mind. The Eastern Kentucky offer just seems to be the right fit," Berkeley Springs coach John Rowland said. "It's a smaller Division I school, and we know she'll be well-coached. And it has one of the better nursing programs in the country, and that's what Rachel is interested in.

"To me, it looks like a marriage made in heaven. The whole package seems to be laid out pretty well for her to be successful, athletically and academically."

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