VAN ALSTYNE — Panthers look out for each other, and former Van Alstyne student athletes Isaiah Boling and Sadie Ingram are back to share their experiences on taking high school sport careers to the collegiate level.

Boling, older brother of recent Van Alstyne graduate Noah Boling, just finished up his freshman year as guard on the Tarleton State University basketball team. After graduating from Van Alstyne in 2016, Boling originally landed at Southeastern Oklahoma fresh out of high school — but with a nagging feeling that it simply wasn’t the right fit, Boling transferred the following year to Tarleton.

“I love it so far,” Boling said of Tarleton, “everything about it, the campus life, the people here, everything’s been great.”

Boling had an incrediblea athletic career at Van Alstyne, serving as a four-year varsity player and team captain for the Panthers. Boling was district MVP, first team All-Texomaland and first-team all-state his senior year, among more accomplishments. But — despite the successes in high school — playing at the next level is a whole different experience, Boling said.

“Just seeing how everything is done there [at Tarleton] at such a high level, being around the coaches and the team, it’s just amazing to experience,” Boling said. “Just seeing how everything works at that level, and personally being pushed to a level I’ve never been to has helped me become a better player both physically and mentally… you should be ready to work when you go into a college sport. Coming out of high school, you might be a big time athlete, but when you step on the floor in college, you’re a nobody until you put in the work. You have to really listen and take in everything your coaches and teammates teach you.”

Boling will look to make a splash at Tarleton come next season, where he will be eligible to get some minutes on the floor and will continue to put in the hard work to do so.

Ingram, another former Panther standout and older sister of Sydney Ingram, has just wrapped up her first collegiate track season with Concordia University. Participating in a whopping seven events — 100 hurdles, 200 meter run, 800 meter run, shot-put, javelin, long jump and high jump. Ingram was a four year varsity player for the Panthers, as well as, team captain, a two time MVP, and had made four regional qualifiers in her high school career.

Now at the college level, Ingram described her first year running for Concordia.

“It was amazing,” Ingram said. “It wasn’t anything I expected, it was definitely a different experience than high school, but I really liked my teammates and coaches so overall the experience was very positive for me.”

Like many student athletes, the freedoms and the way things are ran at the college level, threw Ingram for a small loop initially.

“I kind of expected it to be similar to high school,” Ingram said, “but obviously it wasn’t. I only had classes for a few hours a day at Concordia, so I had a lot more time to workout and do those workouts on my own, which was definitely different because in high school you get watched by a coach during everything. But they really trusted us to get the work done ourselves… their was a lot of freedom in terms of being allowed to do our own things, and if we wanted to do something or try something the coaches were always open to hear a suggestion… it was definitely a learning year, getting used to how things are ran here, and classes, but it’s definitely a program that wants you to succeed.”

Sports aside, the college experience can be jarring for some, so finding the right fit is key — something Ingram had done almost by accident with Concordia, after choosing the school for academics, but being given the opportunity for athletics.

“This year was everything I could have hoped for,” Ingram said. “I love my school. I’ve made a lot of new friends, loved my classes… I was kind of shopping around for schools, and I couldn’t find a school, or a school I’d like to stay at, and Concordia was kind of a last minute decision. I applied and got in, I texted the coach and he offered the opportunity to run for them and after visiting the campus and falling in love with it, I jumped at the chance.”

After a year in the books, Ingram had a few words of advice for any runners looking to make it to the next level.

“Know that it’s going to be different than high school,” Ingram said, “and go into it with a plan. Know what your workouts are going to be, know what you’re going to need to do in the off-season to get better, and really get to know your coaches. A good relationship with your coaches will change your whole outlook on the season and allows you to just do the work smoothly.”