Vega

Fort Payne senior Aylin Vega is pictured during a signing ceremony at Fort Payne High School on Monday. She plans to run cross country at Wallace State Community College.

Staying close to home after her high school graduation was important to Aylin Vega.

The Fort Payne senior was considering enrolling in Northeast Alabama Community College or Jacksonville State University before Wallace State Community College in Hanceville made her an offer to join the school’s cross country program.

“It was a tough decision, because I really didn’t want to move away from home,” Vega said after signing a national letter of intent with Wallace State at Fort Payne High School on Monday. “But I had to think about it and I knew that not everybody gets this opportunity and gets a scholarship like this. So I decided to take the scholarship. 

“I never thought I would be getting to sign. I never saw it coming. I just think it’s a new chapter in life, new opportunities and I hope it goes really well.”

At Fort Payne High School, Vega was a member of the cross country and track and field teams, helping add depth and experience to both teams. She was a key member of the girls 4x800-meter relay team that won bronze medals at this season’s state track meet, also scoring in the 3200-meter run at the sectional meet this season.

“Aylin gives 100% every day,” Wildcats track and field head coach Selena Penton said. “She has proven to be one of the most improved athletes at FPHS from the beginning to the end of her career.”

Penton said she thinks Vega’s new coaches at Wallace State will be pleased with the runner’s work ethic and dedication to improving. 

Vega was the No. 3 runner for the Fort Payne girls cross country team this season. Ashley Jackson, head coach of the team, said Vega turned into a phenomenal runner in the program since her start. The coach said she has no doubt that Vega’s work ethic will carry over to the collegiate level and looks forward to her accomplishing big things at Wallace.

“It's an honor to see Aylin make the decision to continue her running career at Wallace State,” Jackson said. “She was my only senior and to see her go on to the next level is exciting.”

Vega said she plans to study real estate.

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