The Official Website of The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association - District IV
By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | November 16, 2017
Over the past couple of years, Hannah Corson worked her way into being one of the best runners in District 4.
Now, the state qualifier from Wyalusing has signed for college, as she will head to Mercer of the Division I Southern Conference.
"Choosing a college is a daunting endeavor as there are many colleges of quality to choose from," Corson said. "In the end the final decision for me was the overall feeling more than anything else. After visiting Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, I knew that academics comes first and learned they are currently emphasizing their cross country and track and field programs.
"They participate in the NCAA Division 1 Southern Conference and their ambition is to have champion teams. They have restructured their coaching programs toward that goal."
For Mercer there is a lot of focus on their programs.
"Serious improvements have been made under the guidance of Jerod Wims since August of 2016 and we believe he will continue to push our programs toward future success," said director of athletics Jim Cole.
One of the keys for Corson is the academic focus of the school.
Last year Mercer led the conference in Academic All-Conference selections, racking up nearly 20 more than any other school in the conference. The school also claimed the Barrett-Bonner Award for the second consecutive year. The award is given to the conference team with the highest percentage of its student-athletes on the league's academic honor roll.
"I plan on majoring in engineering with a minor in art," Corson said.
The school of engineering marked its 25th anniversary in 2010 and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top three master's-degree-level engineering schools in the Southeast and Mercer was named Best 382 Colleges by the Princeton Review 2018.
"Mercer has a tradition of service-learning and more than half of Mercer's undergraduate students participate in community service around the world," Corson said.
Recently, the University has received national recognition from Campus Compact (an organization of college presidents pledged to community service) and the Princeton Review. In 2015 The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has renewed Mercer University's Community Engagement Classification, first awarded in 2008, for another 10 years. Only a small percentage of U.S. colleges and universities pursue and are awarded this classification.
"The Carnegie classification in community engagement is the nation's gold standard in measuring an institution's commitment to marshaling resources to serve local and international communities by engaging students in service-learning and fostering faculty community-based research," said Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, senior vice provost for service-learning. "Mercer was one of the earliest institutions to earn the designation in 2008, and we are proud to have continued building upon our strong tradition, joining with other fine institutions such as Duke, Tulane and Emory. Every school and college within Mercer University partners with an extensive array of community agencies and organizations to advance communities' well being."
For Corson running down south is something she feels will just help make her a better runner.
"Because of the weather down south, I think it is great that the outdoor track and field season starts in February," she said. "I feel that the style of training and emphasis on athlete development of cross country assistant coach Taylor Hurst, as well as academic excellence, makes Mercer University the right fit for me."
Corson is the daughter of Kent and Kim Corson and is a two-time state qualifier in cross country.