MARCY, N.Y. - Whitesboro senior basketball player Alana Batson will be taking her career to the next level, but won't have to travel very far to do so.
Batson has committed to attend and play for SUNY Oneonta at the NCAA Division III level.
"The coach [Daphne Thompson] reached out to me over a year ago just from AAU and different showcases, so I've been in contact with her for a long time now," Batson said. "With COVID and everything I couldn't visit campus officially, but I was able to go and see it and meet with her so it was great to do that."
Batson is planning on majoring in biology during her undergraduate years with the plan to ultimately study in a physical therapy program.
She said that in looking for a school, she wanted something far away enough from home to be on her own, but close enough that she could still take a short trip to be with family and friends from the Whitesboro community.
"[SUNY Oneonta] has my major and I really enjoyed getting to know the program and I really liked the coach," Batson said. "It just checked all the boxes for me and it just felt like it was a good fit."
If and when the high school basketball season locally begins, it will be Batson's fourth on the Warriors varsity roster. She is a four-year scholar-athlete at Whitesboro as well.
After tearing her ACL in August at a tournament for her AAU team, Syracuse Royals, where she's played since sixth grade, it doesn't appear she'll be able to take the court for her senior season. Between the disappointment of that and the current state of the coronavirus pandemic, Batson said having her immediate future solidified gives her something to look forward to during difficult times.
"It definitely was a really relieving feeling just because this year has been unknown with AAU on and off and then I tore my ACL so it was a big change physically and mentally," she said. "So being able to find my place and know what the future holds is a really good feeling."
Batson has had the chance to speak to her soon-to-be teammates at SUNY Oneonta via Zoom calls set up to help incoming players get to know each other and current team members.
She said she excited to make new friends and have new experiences, but that it is bittersweet having to go separate ways from her closest friends and current teammates.
"We've always been very close," said Batson. "The bus rides were always such a fun part. Even practices, games, team dinners, just being with them all the time, it was just such a special bond. So I'm going to miss it, but I love all those memories and hopefully we get something this year."
Batson said that throughout the virtual learning experience this school year, she's remained in constant contact with her teammates with the hopes they can be back together in person soon.
While it has been a difficult year for her much like everyone else, she said she's had a great support system around her to help her push through all of the adversity there has been in 2020, and in her planning for the future.
"I couldn't thank my coaches, teammates, parents, family, friends, they've all been great throughout this whole process," she said. "It's a lot to think about where you want to go to college, but I think they made it a lot easier and more comforting about where I want to go."