Pack inks with Wheaton College
Published 11:35 am Thursday, April 14, 2016
By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor
INDIAN SPRINGS – Indian Springs School senior Austin Pack made his college decision official on April 14, signing his national letter of intent to play college soccer at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. The 5-foot-9-inch senior attacking midfielder has helped lead Springs to a 16-2-2 record this season as of April 14, and a No. 1 1A-3A ranking in the state along with the No. 5 ranking overall in the state. He has scored 24 goals while racking up 11 assists through 20 games as well.
“We are here today to celebrate not just Austin, but his achievement and what it means for the predicate of Springs,” Indian Springs head boys’ soccer coach Rik Tozzi said at the ceremony. “Austin started playing with us in the eighth grade, and Austin is an example of the predicate Springs provides for you to achieve whatever you want within the silo of your chosen passion.”
While Pack’s eventual college decision will lead him just outside of Chicago to Wheaton College, that was not always the goal. Initially, Pack had his sights set on playing for the Naval Academy. That didn’t end up panning out, but the assistant men’s coach at Navy at the time the Midshipmen were recruiting Pack, Jake DeClute, took the head coaching job at Wheaton in December of 2014, and made sure Pack knew he was wanted in the Thunder program.
“He picked me up and was like, ‘You’re a great player, please come on up,’” Pack said of his interaction with DeClute. “I was there for their home opener this past season. I got to sit in the student section; it was all a cool experience. He asked me to commit right on the spot there. I didn’t actually commit then, but I did like a week and a half later.”
Pack will graduate from Springs this May before transitioning into the college ranks. Before that, however, he will try to lead Springs on one last playoff run as they try to claim their second soccer title in three years.
“Austin’s dedication and commitment to excellence really embodies the opportunities Springs provides and what we can achieve if you dedicate yourself to your chosen passion,” Tozzi added. “We could not be prouder to have Austin represent the program and school.”
Wheaton is a Division III program that competes in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin along with the likes of Illinois Wesleyan, Carthage College and Elmhurst College.