Four more Carroll athletes signed letters of intent Nov. 12, making it six Chargers to commit to college programs during the National Signing Day early period.

Two volleyball players and two cross country runners signed Thursday.

Zoe Duffus

Zoe Duffus, the runner-up at this year’s IHSAA Cross Country State Finals, will join the Big Ten at Penn State University next fall.

“Ever since I’ve been in fifth grade, I’ve always wanted to run at a Big Ten, DI school, so to see that finally happen and for this day to be here is just really exciting,” Duffus said.

Asked why she chose Penn State, Duffus said, “I don’t even know where to start when people ask that. The team and the coaches are something that I really looked at, as everyone does, and the support system there, the coaches are just amazing. The location is so pretty … it’s just kind of a perfect combination of academics and athletics.”

Duffus was a semi-state champion this year, and she’s been a part of Carroll’s two state championship teams. In November of last year, Duffus placed seventh at the Nike Cross Midwest Regionals in Terre Haute before going on to place 41st at the national level in Portland, Oregon.

In terms of how her experience at Carroll will shape her perspective moving forward, “I think one of the main things I’ll take is just being able to work as a unit,” she said. “These past years we’ve had really strong teams, and it’s been cool to come together with whatever team I have with those girls to accomplish something big.

“I hope to be remembered as someone who always put their best effort out there despite adversity — always to come out on the other side, no matter the challenge.”

Duffus said she is currently undecided on a major.

Ashlyn Minton

Senior Ashlyn Minton signed Thursday to continue her cross country career at Butler University.

“When I stepped on the campus, I really liked how I felt, and I liked meeting the team even though I had to do it over Zoom, but I just got a really good vibe from the school and I’m looking for athletics and academics,” she said.

Minton has steadily climbed the ranks at Carroll over her past four years with the program, placing 62nd at state her sophomore year before coming back with all-state performances the following two years — placing 25th in 2019 and 14th this fall.

“I’ve always really wanted to run in college, ever since I was in middle school … It’s kind of crazy, though, that it’s right now, because it wasn’t really that long ago that I was actually starting to think about it back at the beginning of high school,” she said. “… I just want to try to do the best that I can, maybe just work my way up like I did here on the cross country team.”

Minton said she is undecided on a major, but is leaning toward something in communications or journalism.

Ellie Garland

For senior Ellie Garland, playing volleyball at the collegiate level has always been a dream. Next fall, it will become a reality at Indiana University Kokomo.

“I love the campus, I love the school, the environment there, everything about the coaching, the girls were great. I just think that I’m going to fit in there,” the Carroll senior said. “… I’ve played with the girls before and I fit in pretty well, so I think it’s going to be a fun four years.”

Garland said she is undecided on her major, but she is thinking about studying physical therapy.

Taya Haffner

Senior Taya Haffner signed Thursday to play volleyball at University of Evansville.

“Evansville was just a place where I felt at home,” she said. “The girls were really nice, and I just felt welcomed by them and then the coaches as well. “… I know a few of the girls down there right now, and I think it’s something that I’ll be a good fit at.”

Haffner, a setter for the Chargers over the past four years, currently holds the school record for most career assists.

“I think leadership is something that I am strong at — I think I can bring that to Evansville as well — and just an overall good player on the court,” she said. “… I hope to go in and compete for a starting spot right away.

Haffner plans to study physical therapy.

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