Rushville, Ill. — It’s not very often a school the size of Rushville-Industry High School has a student sign an athletic letter of intent to a Division I university. This past week, the Rockets had two.

Seniors Ashley Thomas and Dalton Plumer signed their letters of intent to continue their pole vaulting careers at the next level.

Thomas signed with Western Illinois University, while Plumer will attend Illinois State University.

“It’s exciting,” Thomas said about here future as a Leatherneck.

Both Thomas and Plumer have enjoyed a fair amount of success while at R-I, peaking the interest of several local schools.

Thomas, a three-time state qualifier, received interest from both WIU and ISU.

“I started getting letters my freshman year after I medaled at state,” Thomas said. “Then I just kept getting more and more.”

Thomas ultimately decided to go with familiarity in the form of WIU.

“I was comfortable with Western,” said Thomas. “I knew and loved the coaches, it’s close to home. It’s perfect for me.”

Plumer was also receiving interest from a number of schools, but not the one he had his eye on. That’s when he decided to take over his own recruitment.

“After last year, a bunch of schools from the area wanted to look at me,” Plumer said after finishing 10th at state. “But I noticed that ISU’s pole vault program was about to get slim, so I sent their coach an email to see if there would be any interest.”

ISU pole vaulting coach, Stephanie Barnes, replied to his email, and after witnessing Plumer’s potential, offered him a spot on the team.

“The fact that they had a coach specifically for pole vaulters really drew me there,” said Plumer.

Plumer plans to study agriculture business at ISU, after completing his air force training over the summer.

“That will be the biggest obstacle for me,” Plumer said. “I will be gone for a good two months and won’t have too much time to work on my pole vaulting. I don’t plan to set too many goals my first year. I just want to improve and keep an open mind.”

Thomas, who plans to study accounting at WIU, echoed Thomas’ sentiments.

“I want to continue getting personal bests,” she said. “Just keep getting better.”

Both said they will miss being a part of Rockets track and field program that has helped them develop into the athletes they are today. But both said they have some goals to accomplish before moving on to college competition.

“I want to be state champion,” said Thomas.

Plumer has similar plans.

“I want to be first or second at state,” he said. “I think I have a really good shot at making a run at the championship.”

It’s those kind of goals that have Thomas and Plumer’s future schools excited about the their newest recruits.

By:  Todd Rudolf

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Ashley Thomas

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