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Morana to sign with Ga. school

The two-sport athlete from Central will play volleyball for Wesleyan College in Macon.

By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- The first time Christine Morana heard about Wesleyan College, she said, "No way."

Soon, she will call it home.

The Central senior plans to commit to the NCAA Division III program in Macon, Ga., on Friday in the high school office.

Morana, who carries a 4.13 weighted grade-point average and scored 1,200 on the SAT, will receive two academic scholarships. She will play volleyball, though Div. III schools cannot offer athletic money under NCAA rules.

"You just feel this is going to be a good fit for her," Central volleyball coach Jim Jensen said. "It wasn't about athletics. It was about feeling comfortable in the right situation and, with Christine, it's always been about academics."

At first, it was about boys. Or, the lack of them.

Jensen called Morana and two teammates into his office after he received a flier from Wesleyan seeking information on Central's players. Jensen told them Wesleyan was an all-women's school.

"We thought, "No way,' " Morana said. "We were all making fun of it. We ended up filling (the form) out just for the heck of it. We never expected to hear anything from it."

Morana changed her mind after visiting Wesleyan on April 6. She met coach Nicole Mason, toured the campus and stayed in one of the dorms. The trip went so well, Morana applied two days later and was accepted May 1.

A teacher eased her concerns about Wesleyan being an all-women's school.

"At first, I thought it would be awkward having classes with just girls," Morana said. "I thought it would be strange not having the opinion of a guy in the class.

"But I talked to one of my teachers who attended an all-girls college, and she thought it would be great for me because of my leadership potential," Morana said. "There would be so much more opportunity to lead."

The past two seasons, Morana led the Bears to back-to-back playoff berths. After finishing as a district runner-up in 2000, Central beat Lecanto last season to capture the program's first district championship.

After the season, Morana picked up her second All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference honor and was named fifth-team all-state.

"With her in the middle, we've been to the playoffs twice," Jensen said. "Prior to her, we'd only been in the playoffs once."

Jensen said Morana, a middle hitter, should have the opportunity to play immediately at Wesleyan, 5-20 in Mason's first year.

"At a Division III school, she may be athletic enough they may keep her in the middle," Jensen said. "But I kind of foresee her moving to the outside."

Morana plans to major in graphic design.

-- Staff writer Frank Pastor can be reached at (800) 333-7505, ext. 1430, or pastor@sptimes.com.

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