MAPLETON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Signing her National Letter of Intent to play softball at Illinois State was a satisfying moment for Emma Hicks last month.
She gets to play a Division I sport ay a school close to home. And she’ll be reunited with her sister Hanna, a freshman at ISU.
They played plenty of high school volleyball and basketball together the last couple of years at Illini Bluffs High School. But their final season as prep softball teammates was canceled last spring during the early stages of the pandemic.
“It felt like we never got to finish playing together,” Emma Hicks said. “Now we get an extra three years together, that was taken away from us last year when our season got canceled.”
When the 2020 softball season was canceled it ended Hanna’s high school career.
“We didn’t get to finish high school together , obviously,” said Hanna Hicks. “To get another chance is super exciting and most people don’t get that. We’re definitely both going to cherish it and enjoy every moment together.”
They’ve played summer and fall travel softball together for years and say when they were young they used to talk about playing college softball on the same team. Even though that seemed like a long shot.
“I’m pretty sure we talked about how crazy it would be if we got to that level and played for the same school,” said Hanna Hicks, who just started her second semester at ISU. “Obviously, that doesn’t happen that much. It is kind of surreal that it actually did happen after we talked about it so many years ago.”
They’ll have to wait for the fall to be on the same team again as Emma has another semester of high school to finish. The sisters hope this spring will be filled with softball games — Emma’s at Illini Bluffs and Hanna’s at ISU.
In the meantime, there’s something else Emma sister will be counting on.. She needs her older sister to be a campus tour guide soon.
“I never got to go on my official visit, so I’m still not sure where some places are located,” Emma Hicks said with a laugh. “I’m going to need her to guide me a little bit. It’ll be nice to have her there to ask a lot of questions.”