What made you decide to sign with University of Portland?
The University of Portland was my last official visit, so I was finally able to look back and compare the 5 exceptional schools that I had been considering. After having visited Portland, what I enjoyed the most was the kindness of the team and the values of the coaching staff as well as the tradition that they had built, the beauty of the landscape that I would train on and the school being a strong liberal arts program. It did not hurt either that the University of Portland is a perennial NCAA top-10 cross country program.
Where else did you look?
The other schools that I visited were Iona, Syracuse, Furman, UNCG and Clemson. All of these schools have outstanding programs academically and athletically and I could not be more grateful for the options I had in front of me.
What does it mean to you to continue your family tradition of college level runners?
To finally be done with the decision process is a huge relief as it is with most seniors in high school. Because my parents and my sister Sinead were and are collegiate athletes, I had much to live up to within my family. My family has always been very supportive of my running and it means a lot to me that I was able to continue the tradition.
What was the college experience like in terms of recruiting?
I enjoyed the recruiting process because I was able to build connections with each coach and team as well as travel and experience the schools. The negative side to the recruiting process is probably the waiting that is involved as it becomes stressful not knowing where you may end up next year. I think the best thing I did was stay patient with the entire process and not decide too quickly. I wanted to make sure that the school I chose was a good fit and had good values for my future academically and athletically.
What goals academically and athletically do you have for college and beyond?
My main goal in college is to become a contributor on Portland’s team and one day run at nationals. I also hope to continue breaking personal goals each year in college.
Tell us about your final XC season, how do you feel it went?
My final XC season turned out great as I was able to win the State Championship after a hard fight with Tony Morales. I am grateful that I had such a great competitor as Morales at the State Championship as we both worked off each other to run fast times. I wish I could have done better at Footlocker having had to deal with an injured hip after State, but being able to hit my PR again was a good way to confirm that I could continue hitting low 15s in the 5K race.
What would you recommend to others about the recruiting experience?
My biggest recommendation that I could give for athletes looking to run in college is to contact schools that they have an interest in. I waited until November and contacted schools with strong 5K/10K track and cross country traditions. Since it takes time to fully develop as an athlete, I also suggest looking at schools which redshirt you as a freshman. Perennial top-10 programs do this. Another recommendation is to be patient with the process and make sure the school that you pick is one where you see yourself fitting in the best in the future and is the best choice academically for your major.
How do you want to be remembered at Daniel?
I hope that many athletes at Daniel will continue the success that my teammates and I created. I followed the example of my sister and the seniors of 2013 and I just hope that the underclassmen will follow my example in the same way. I want the Daniel tradition of strong distance athletes to continue rather than just be seen as a few years where Daniel was strong in the distance program.
What goals do you have for the final track and field season?
My main goals are to improve my personal records in the 5K, 3200 and 1600. I hope to go on to the State Championship and compete as best I can. Because it’s my final season in high school, I just intend to help my team, break my own barriers and enjoy the spirit of competition rather than put too much pressure on myself.