Their senior basketball season was unceremoniously cut short, but Norwell seniors Will Geiger, Drew Federspiel and Conner Torson will remain classmates in the fall when all three enroll at Grace College.
The friends admit it was their parents' idea, at first, to all attend the same college after graduation.
“We're all pretty good friends, our families, so whenever they got together, they always joked about how fun it would be to go to the same school and be able to continue that friendship and just stay together,” Geiger said. “So I guess it's pretty cool that what we joked about in the beginning is kind of coming true.”
Geiger, an IBCA Large School All-State honoree, has signed to play basketball for the Lancers. Federspiel has committed to the track team, primarily as a hurdler. Torson is not planning to play a sport, although he has considered walking on to the soccer team.
Federspiel was the first of the three to settle on Grace, and he said he knew almost immediately that it was the right school for him.
“The coaches were basically my determining factor in going there. They were hopeful, they saw a lot of potential in me right off the bat, when me and my mom talked to them,” Federspiel said. “Right when me and my mom left the campus, I looked at her and said, 'I want to go there.' And she said, are you sure? Because that was my first college visit, my first college offer. And I was like, I'm pretty sure.”
Torson said he had had positive impressions of the campus, dating to when he and Geiger went to a Grace basketball camp together back in the sixth grade.
“I remember the campus and staying in the dorms, and it was a really fun experience for me,” Torson said. “It's always been in the back of my head, that it's a good school.”
Geiger said the setting – a small campus in Winona Lake – was enticing.
“I really wanted a campus that I liked and I enjoyed being on and there were things to do,” Geiger said. “And Grace being on Winona Lake and having the lake right there and all the things to do made it pretty cool, and it made Grace stand out for me.”
Geiger was also interested in Grace's agricultural and business programs, while Federspiel and Torson both plan to become physical therapists.
“My main goal right now is to go to Grace College and get my major in exercise science, and I'm going to do accelerated classes, so instead of getting my degree in four years, I'm going to try to get it in three,” Federspiel said, noting that he's already planning on getting his doctorate in physical therapy at Trine or Indianapolis.
“When I first went to Grace, I talked to my financial adviser, and she gave me the rundown of the plans I could do. She told me about the accelerated classes, and how we could work around my schedule for track, and I was very happy about that.”
While Grace is a nearby and familiar campus for all three, and the decision was made partially on the recommendation of older Norwell grads who are already enjoying their time in Winona Lake, all three are also looking to spread their wings little bit.
They won't room together (Federspiel has already met his new roommate, another incoming freshman on the track team), and they won't be teammates for the first time in nearly seven years.
“I hate to say that, because I love my home and my family very much, but it's going to be exciting to move out and kind of be on my own for a little bit,” Geiger said. “And I guess, just the campus feel and being in the dorms and meeting new people, that's going to be very exciting. I can't wait for it, that's what I'm really looking forward to.”