By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Emmie Jackson knew there was something special about Wittenberg the instant she saw it.
“It just felt like home from the second I stepped on campus as a sophomore,” she said.
On Tuesday during a ceremony at Troy High School, Jackson, a Troy High School senior and the volleyball team’s libero this fall, signed her national letter of intent to continue her athletic career at Wittenberg University, an NCAA Division III school in nearby Springfield.
But even though Wittenberg felt like home to her right away, she still wasn’t completely sure it’s where she belonged.
“At first, I was a little unsure because of how small it was — all three of my older siblings had gone to big D-I schools like Ohio State and University of Cincinnati, so I was so used to the big atmosphere,” Jackson said.
As it turned out, she needed to see an alternative to sell her on Wittenberg for good.
“I looked at a couple in Pennsylvania, like Clarion, which is D-II,” Jackson said. “It was five hours away and I spent the night there, and I just felt so isolated, like ‘I’m so far away from home!’ And I looked at other D-III schools in the area, but Witt is just the one that stood out to me. It felt like home, and my parents can come to all my home games.”
Jackson, who plans on studying early childhood education along with special education, led the Trojans in digs this season with 269 despite missing a handful of games due to injury, including a season-high 26 digs in Troy’s five-set, come-from-behind victory over Beavercreek in the district semifinal round. She was also fourth on the team in service aces with 38 as the Trojans went 22-3 this season, won a share of its eighth straight division title and reached the district final for the third straight season.
“Emmie’s been a kid that’s really been driven by her goals, and she wanted to play college volleyball,” Troy coach Michelle Owen said. “She said that as a sophomore, and she really fell in love with Wittenberg early in her recruiting process.
“She’s really improved for us defensively over the course of the past couple seasons. She played a huge part this year in our wins, especially our divisional win over Tipp the second time, the win over Versailles, some really key games where she just had some strong performances defensively. And her serving game was key for us, too, where she went on some really big runs. I feel like she has a great shot to go over to Witt, step onto a high-performing team and make an impact right away.”
Wittenberg competes in the North Coast Athletic Conference and finished this season 15-12 overall, 8-0 in the NCAC, losing in the conference tournament’s semifinal and then in the NCAA tournament’s opening round to close out the year. The team won an NCAA D-III national title in 2011, and in 2015 and 2017 the Tigers were the runners-up, falling in the national championship match.
And even though her career with the Trojans is over, Jackson still has a bit of volleyball left before playing at the next level.
“I’m so excited,” Jackson said. “We still have club season coming up, so I’ll still be traveling and playing really good competition. But I’m excited to go to Wittenberg.”
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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