Carmen Handy has made it official.
The 17-year-old basketball star has signed a letter of intent, accepting a full scholarship from the University of Vermont, the Division I school where her older sister Lauren already plays.
In some ways, joining her sister at Vermont might seem an almost inevitable choice. Carmen has had a standing offer from the Catamounts since Grade 9, when she accompanied her sister on a visit to Vermont.
But for such an important decision she took her time, she said.
“I was just getting started (in Grade 9). I didn’t want to commit to anything and then end up regretting it, or feeling differently later on.”
The talented Northern Collegiate student wound up receiving dozens and dozens of scholarship offers from schools across the U.S.
This summer she narrowed the choices to her “Final Four,” but Vermont retained top spot.
“When I weighed everything – the location, the coaches, the safety – I was always really interested in Vermont,” she said.
“I like the school; they have a great coach. On my unofficial visits it seemed like they had a really good group of girls” on the basketball team.
In recent years she has visited the school many times as her family made the 10-hour drive to Burlington, Vermont to watch her Lauren play.
Carmen, who plans to study pre-med or engineering, said she hopes having her sister on campus will help her adjust quickly to new surroundings.
The Catamounts have a new coach this season and they’ve looked good in pre-season games, she said.
She is looking forward to being on the court with her sister but she isn’t taking anything for granted. As a freshman, she said, she’ll have to prove herself and earn playing time.
Dad Rick Handy said there would have been pros and cons if his younger daughter had chosen a different school, “but in the end, I think she made a great choice.
“Lauren and Carmen are very close and they really miss each other,” he said. “It feels good knowing they will continue to build memories together.”