November 9, 2004
The sound of a ringing phone isn’t typically a scary thing for a teenage girl. But Christina Wirth is far from typical.
Wirth, a senior at Seton Catholic, survived the rigors of being a high-profile girls basketball recruit. She sorted through the piles of letters and other correspondence, and she endured the phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls.
"I think she knew people were going to call, but I don’t think she realized how many phone calls there would be and how much time she would spend on the phone with each coach," said her current coach, Karen Self.
"Each call would take her, sometimes as long as 45 minutes. And so I think that was more overwhelming for her because she didn’t realize how much time it was really going to take."
"I think each time something new started, like when I first started getting mail, that was fun and exciting," said Wirth.
"Then when the phone calls started that was fun. But then, probably about a month into phone calls, I was just kind of like, ‘oh my gosh, please stop.’ That was kind of when it was more of a job than fun."
After a whirlwind summer in which she played basketball from Arizona to Colorado to Puerto Rico, Wirth ended the recruiting slow dance in September when she committed to Vanderbilt University. On Wednesday, Wirth makes everything official when she signs her letter of intent with Vanderbilt. That day opens the early signing period for athletes in most NCAA sports.
The phone calls were just a part of a memorable summer for Wirth, the Tribune’s 4A-2A Girls Basketball Player of the Year the past two seasons.
The 6-foot-1 guard/forward was invited, along with 47 more of the best girls hoops players in the country, to the USA Basketball youth development festival and then earned a spot on USA Junior National team. She got to train in Colorado and Florida, and then got to visit Puerto Rico for a junior tournament.
When she came home, the phone calls started again.
"It was kind of like the college think that my competitive edge now makes it so I’m just driven to get better at everything."
Wirth, who averaged 23.3 points and 11.6 rebounds a game as a junior, isn’t the only Seton player signing a letter of intent on Wednesday.
Meghan Mullin will sign a softball letter of intent with the University of Nebraska.
"When I got home, the college stuff was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this again.’ "
Picking Vanderbilt before the start of her senior season will allow Wirth to fully enjoy her final prep season. With the experience she gained on the USA Basketball squad, Wirth will likely add significantly to her career totals of 1,770 career points, 824 rebounds and 220 assists.
"This summer, basically it was an entirely new level of competitiveness," said Wirth. "You are always fighting no matter what."