BOYERTOWN — Even before Alexandra Heuer seriously started her college search she had already come to love the scenic and serene University of Delaware campus.
"One of my brother's best friends is on the Delaware lacrosse team and I went to visit her,' Heuer said.
That Blue Hens lacrosse player, former Boyertown standout Devyn Heidelbaugh, did a bit of recruiting on the Bears' current track and field athlete.
"She comes over to our house sometimes and was always trying to talk me into coming to visit,' Heuer said.
So Heuer and her family did finally make that trip.
"And I just loved it,' Heuer said.
When she got college serious and started checking out colleges near and far, Villanova and Monmouth University moved up high on her list.
With her track and field rÃ©sumÃ© in the hurdles and jumps, Heuer certainly had plenty of college coaches eager to add her to their team.
She medaled at the PIAA Championships in the triple jump, placing eight with a school record 37-6½, and reached the semifinals in the 100 hurdles. At districts, Heuer medaled in three events, placing fifth in the triple jump, fifth in the 100 hurdles, and seventh in the 300 hurdles. At the PAC-10 Championships, she won the silver in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, and bronze in the triple jump.
"It was a tough decision between Villanova and Delaware,' Heuer said. "But I decided Delaware was a better fit academically and athletically.'
She plans to major in biology.
"They have a really strong biology field and science area and that was extremely important to me,' she said. "I am smart, but I really have to work hard for my grades and I feel like Delaware has that push for me, but it's not going to be too overwhelming as some other schools might have been. So I felt like it's the right fit, a good challenge school for me.'
Heuer had also closely checked Monmouth.
"My parents' best friends live about 20 minutes away from the campus,' she said. "So we go there every summer for a few days with them and just kind looked into it.'
Along with being great universities those three were also at the top of her list due to being an easy enough drive from home.
"I've always loved to travel, but for right now, I want to stay close to home for college,' she said. "I want my parents to be able to come to my track meets. That's a really important aspect for me.'
But out of the three, Delaware was just it and she signed her letter of intent last month.
"Honestly, I just loved everything there,' she said. "The campus is just beautiful, the atmosphere of the students is very lively. Everyone seems to get along. The team was extremely nice to me, very outgoing. There didn't seem to be any cattiness on the team. And everyone seemed to love it there. Everyone had great school spirit and I didn't hear anything negative from anyone.'
And she loved Blue Hens head coach Wendy McFarlan, a former standout sprinter at the University of Tulsa, then assistant coach at Delaware and Frostburg State, before she took over as the Blue Hens head coach in 2008 and promptly pushed Delaware into the top ranks of the Colonial Athletic Association.
"She is extremely funny; you can joke around with her, but she definitely knows what she is doing, knows when to crack down and get serious as well,' Heuer said. "She didn't tell me what event she wanted mostly to focus on. I would love to try multi-events. I might look into the heptathlon.'
She loves the hurdles and jumping equally. For now.
"Jumping is more of a natural fun thing for me,' she said. "I was just pretty good at it from the start. I didn't start competitive hurdling until my junior year and I love the thrill of being able to race. I did the 300 hurdles in seventh and eighth grade, but didn't really get serious about them until my junior year.
"And I do like running on the 4x400 relay because track isn't exactly like a team aspect kind of thing. That's why I like to include myself in the relay team and help the team out that way.'
She has been running and jumping a long time, starting at Saint Francis Academy in Bally.
"When I was in kindergarten, they had a track program at St. Francis, so I did track there from kindergarten through sixth grade,' she said.
Heuer kept right on going from there to now become one of the Bears all-time standouts as her school records show, along with a medalist at districts and states.
"My highlight of the season (last year) would have to be districts and states because my sophomore year I missed districts,' she said. "And there was always going to be that thought in the back of my head — I never did well at districts. So I was really happy with myself getting three district medals and then going to states and medaling.'
She got the medal in the triple on her last jump, claiming the school record with it, making it even more special.
"Alex is one of the most talented girls and one of the hardest workers I've ever had on the track team,' said Boyertown girls head coach Dave Hartman. "She is going to do very well at a Division I school because she is such a hard worker. Delaware is where she belongs. She has a bunch of our school records already and she'll get more this year.'
Heuer followed that great spring season with yet another superb winter indoor track season. And Bears winter track coach Joe McGlinchey echoed Hartman's praise.
"Alex is an extremely talented and versatile athlete,' McGlinchey said. "What sets her apart is her dedicated work ethic and fierce competitive drive. She works diligently at all her events and she absolutely hates to lose. The University of Delaware should be a great fit for her. She is surely a great catch for them.'
But first there is one more spring season to go with the Bears. And Heuer sure plans to make the most of it, finishing even higher at districts and adding more medals at states. Then it's on to the new challenges ahead at Delaware.
Follow Rosemarie Ross on Twitter @RoseRoss31