On Thursday morning, Cion Hicks promised: “Big News IS COMING!!”
Two days later, the Shoemaker Lady Grey Wolves’ track standout announced on her Twitter account that she’d made a verbal commitment.
“To where?” Copperas Cove’s Chans Colbert tweeted back.
“I am going to be a Baylor Bear,” Hicks exclaimed in all caps Saturday.
Hicks, who finished second in the shot put and discus at the 5A state track meet behind phenom Shelbi Vaughan last spring, isn’t even scheduled to take her official visit to the Waco campus until Dec. 1, but already knows it’s the right spot for her.
“When it came down to it, I knew what I wanted,” Hicks said Monday. “I wanted that family atmosphere that Baylor has, the great coaching that they have, the quality athletes they put out — they all have intensity. I just wanted the family and Christian atmosphere that they have.”
Hicks made her official verbal commitment Thursday night, but didn’t announce her decision until Saturday.
First, the Shoemaker senior wanted to call and thank the other recruiters for their interest and, as a key member of the Lady Grey Wolves’ basketball team, didn’t want her commitment to detract the team’s focus at the Flower Mound Marcus tournament over the weekend.
Because her intentions were admirable, keeping the secret for even the couple of days from Thursday to Saturday wasn’t easy.
“It was bubbling on the inside a lot. I wanted to tell everybody. It slipped out a couple of times, but it was hard to keep on the inside. I mean, it’s just something, every time I think of just me committing to Baylor just makes me so excited on the inside,” Hicks said. “So holding it in from everybody who helped me and everybody who knew what I was trying to accomplish, it was very hard.”
Hicks set the Region II-5A discus record with her 170-foot throw and then finished behind Vaughan in both the shot put (43-10¾) and discus (160-10) at the 5A state meet in May.
While throwing in the shadow of Vaughan, who’s now at Texas A&M, Hicks’ abilities were clearly visible to college suitors.
She had scholarship offers from prestigious programs from around the country and went on official visits to Alabama, Arizona State, TCU and Texas.
But having taken in a number of Baylor football games this season and touring the campus with her family, Baylor “is the place. I know it is. It makes me so excited when I think about it,” Hicks said.
A verbal commitment is nonbinding, which means Hicks can still sign with another program in February when the signing period for track officially opens. But, making such a strong commitment this early, Hicks said the recruiting process will not distract her from finishing her business in high school.
“Because I knew colleges were going to be looking at my marks, there were times when I didn’t throw as far as I needed to and I’d just get totally upset, but this year is all about letting go,” Hicks said. “I don’t have to worry about that (recruiting) aspect. I just have to worry about getting my technique as perfect as I can so that when I go to Baylor, we can work with what I have and I can get even better.”