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Burlington Central

BC’s Wiss picks Air Force above all

Senior baseball recruit relieves pressure with collegiate selection

Four of the six simulated flights Drew Wiss guided during a campus visit to Air Force last month landed safely.

While that .667 mark translates to a marvelous batting average, it's not exactly the stuff of recruiting videos.

Good thing for Wiss he has time to get acclimated. The Burlington Central senior only verbally committed to the Falcons baseball program Sunday.

"I don't mind flying," Wiss said. "I just never thought about going into the Air Force to do it."

Actually, Wiss may not even enter an aircraft career arc when the time comes to solidify his post-graduation military service path in a few years.

The Air Force offers versatile options, much like Wiss, who wowed the Falcons both with his 3.94 grade-point average and slick, 5-foot-11, 175-pound frame.

"He can literally play all four infield positions and all three outfield positions," Central coach Kyle Nelson said. "Actually, when he came into our program, he was a catcher and a pitcher. He doesn't do any of those things for us anymore, but I'm sure he could if you asked him."

Wiss played shortstop for the majority of 2014, batting .381 as the leadoff man for the Big Northern Conference East co-champions. Seventeen of his 37 hits went for extra bases.

A few colleges expressed interest entering the season, but one school's involvement rose to the top thanks to a May 10 nonconference game against Grant.

Air Force coach Mike Kazlausky's father, a Grant assistant, was so impressed with Wiss' play that day at Judson University that he called his son in Colorado Springs, Colorado to offer a recommendation.

Kazlausky watched Wiss play center field with his Downers Grove Longshots travel team a few weeks later and was doubly encouraged when his academic acumen matched up with Air Force's standards, too.

"Both baseball and academics are super important to me, and I think Air Force is one of the few colleges where you can succeed in both of them," Wiss said.

Committing early not only frees any anxiety entering Wiss' senior year, it also re-routes his training focus.

After clocking Wiss with a 6.7 60-yard dash, Kazlausky informed him that likely targeted Wiss for a corner infield spot or second base. The Falcons typically want a center fielder who runs a 6.5 60 or below.

"Basically that's my plan this offseason, to get faster," Wiss said. "Because I want to get that center field spot or that shortstop spot, even."

Nelson said he plans to keep Wiss at shortstop next spring.

Until then, Wiss – also a member of Central's National Honor Society and boys basketball team – already is taking a chapter from the Air Force manual.

"Aim High" isn't just an old recruiting slogan anymore.

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