SIDNEY — Sidney seniors Aiden Booth and Allie Stockton had different recruiting paths that led them to the University of Findlay, but both said they were enamored with the school when they visited campus.
Both Sidney athletes signed national letters of intent to play at Findlay, a Division II university, on Wednesday in a ceremony at Sidney’s library. Booth signed for baseball and Stockton signed for womens basketball.
“The atmosphere is great,” Booth said. “… The campus is awesome, the people there are great, the coaches are awesome, in my opinion, the best coaches I talked with in my recruiting process. All-around, Findlay is a great spot. I can’t wait to get there.”
Stockton has been a four-year starter for Sidney’s girls basketball squad and is set to start her senior season on Friday when the team travels to Russia. She became the eighth player in program history to surpass 1,000 career points last year and has 1,108 points entering this season.
Stockton was recruited by Findlay assistant and New Knoxville grad Haley Horstman when Horstman was an assistant at Tiffin.
“(Tiffin) just wasn’t what I was looking for in a school,” Stockton said. “She got this position at Findlay in late spring or early summer, and as soon she got it, she reached out to me, and I went up on a visit and loved it.”
Findlay is off to a 1-1 start this year and finished 15-15 year ago. Stockton, who is 5-foot-10, said she was recruited by the Oilers as a guard/small forward. She has played everything at Sidney from point guard to center.
“I’ll get up there and see where they play me,” Stockton said.
Stockton has averaged more than six rebounds per game each of her three seasons and has also averaged at least two assists and 2.5 steals per game. She has helped lead a resurgence in Sidney’s program since the 2019-20 season; the squad has won at least 15 games each year after a combined 2-44 record the previous two seasons.
Stockton, who played AAU for former Troy and University of Dayton star Brooks Hall’s Ohio Elite, is one seven returning players for the Yellow Jackets this year. She said the team is hoping to repeat as overall Miami Valley League champions and make a deeper postseason run; Sidney advanced to a district semifinal last year.
“I’m excited for my senior year,” Stockton said. “It went by a lot faster than I thought it would. It’s been enjoyable so far. …We have some big expectations as a team this year.”
Booth, who primarily plays as a middle infielder, pitched 13 innings in relief for Sidney’s baseball squad last season and had a 1.92 ERA with 16 strikeouts and two saves. He had a .291 batting average, an MVL-best three home runs, a .337 on-base percentage and 16 RBIs.
The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out spring sports his freshman year. Since then, he’s helped lead a resurgence; Sidney has won at least 17 games each of the last two seasons after having won 15 total in 2018 and 2019.
“I think we’ll win that (MVL) Valley Division title again; that seems to be a reoccurring thing,” Booth said. “Hopefully we can turn some heads and be even better this year. We’ve come up short in district (semifinals), and hopefully we can get past that this year.”
Booth, who played summer ball for Bo Jackson Elite out of Hilliard, will join a Findlay program on the rise. The Oilers are now under the guidance of coach Matt Palm, who is entering his second season. He previously coached Heidelberg’s baseball program, where he amassed a .685 winning percentage between 2000 and 2014 and led the squad to six NCAA D-II regional appearances.
“He had a lot of success at Heidelberg and is coming over to Findlay to do the same there,” Booth said. “They had a pretty good year last year and from what I’ve heard, a couple of the kids I’m going there with in the 2023 (recruiting) class are pretty good players, too. Hopefully we’ll be a pretty good team.”
Sidney athletic director Mitch Hoying led the ceremony on Wednesday and said the duo’s good behavior, work ethic and strong academic performance aided in their earning athletic scholarships.
Stockton has a 4.2 grade point average and Booth has a 4.02 GPA.
“Every person that ends up going to college and getting a scholarship of some type has a high GPA. We’ve never had anyone beneath a 3.3 GPA,” Hoying said. “Every one of them has great attendance and doesn’t take days off. I don’t think there’s ever been anyone that has been in the office in trouble.
“Generally speaking, being here is the result of making great decisions for about 3,000 straight days. …It’s not just that they’re great (athletes), it’s that they’re great decision-makers and great academically as well.”
A group of over 50 people gathered for the signing ceremony, including Sidney girls basketball coach Jamal Foster and baseball coach Thomas Goffena.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.