If you're an athlete with aspirations of playing at the Division I level in college, sometimes the decision about which school to choose can seem to take forever to crystalize.
That was not the case for Chambersburg softball player Caeley Etter.
Etter, who will be only a junior next spring, recently made a verbal commitment to play for Mount St. Mary's in nearby Emmitsburg, Md.
"It wasn't like I was trying to avoid the pressure of making a decision," Etter said, "I just fell in love with the school. It's a great education, it's a religious school – Catholic, which is very important to me – and I can play softball at a smaller Division I school. It pretty much has everything I wanted and I didn't think I'd find another school with all that."
So when The Mount's coach, Anna Nagro, gave her an offer in June, Etter took a little while to think about it, but then said yes.
"I wanted to take some time because it was the first offer," Etter said, "but as time went on, I realized I didn't want to wait. I can't see any other school being such a perfect fit for me."
Etter was recruited as a catcher, which is her natural position, and the one she plays most often for her travel team, Black Ice of Cockeysville, Md. For the past two seasons in high school, Etter has played primarily outfield and was the backup catcher behind veteran Lily Nolan.
Being a catcher is not surprising – her father is former Trojan catcher Brian Etter.
"I think she's a lot better defensively than I was," Brian Etter said. "Good defensive catchers maybe don't receive much attention until recruiting time rolls around."
Caeley said, "Since I was little and could first play softball, I've been a catcher, and I love it."
Chambersburg coach Ted Bittinger said, "She's certainly in the running for our No. 1 catcher's spot next spring, and I think she'll do fine. She played other positions for us, and with her speed, she's pretty solid wherever you play her."
Etter made the varsity team as a freshman and became a starter in the outfield about halfway through the season. This year she played several different positions and was a starter until the last game of the regular season, when she had to sit out with a concussion. That meant she also missed the Trojans' two District 3 playoff games.
Her problems began when she dove for a catch in centerfield in a game against Cedar Cliff and her chin hit the ground. Three days later, against Greencastle, she tried for two diving catches and on the second one she said she felt her neck snap when her head was jolted.
"I got up a little slower that time," she said. "I played for a few days after that; I guess I wanted to play tough. But I knew it was getting worse when I lost some of my memory and had headaches. We did some testing and I didn't pass."
Etter wasn't allowed to play for a while and missed several club tournaments. Then rain limited her team's tournament play. She finally made it back a couple of weeks ago.
"I was out for six and a half weeks," Etter said. "When I came back I looked terrible at the plate. But I did some extra work with my coaches and my dad, and last weekend (for her team's final event), I was finally back to hitting like I used to."
In the high school season, Etter posted a .239 batting average, with four doubles, one triple, one home run and eight runs batted in.
Bittinger said, "She started out strong, then slumped some, but she was starting to hit again about the time she got the concussion. One thing you don't have to worry about with Caeley is her work ethic. You can't find a player who will work harder than her, whether it's her batting or fielding."
She'll have two more years of work before she gets to take her talents to the next level.