Mingus Union High School senior Rachel Valentine signed a National Letter of Intent to participate in cross country and track and field at Lyndon State College in Vermont on Monday, May 15.
Valentine, who has been running since the fifth grade, found the right combination of athletics and academics that best suits her.
“More importantly than sports, it has a really good program for my major, electronic journalism,” Valentine said. “I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I get to experience a lot of new things.”
As a Marauder, Valentine participated in the 2015 Arizona Interscholastic Association Cross Country Division III State Championships. As a freshman in 2014, she qualified for the AIA Division III State Championships for track and field, where she competed in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.
With the NCAA Division III Hornets, Valentine said that she expects to compete in long distance events and the steeplechase during track season.
What most excites Valentine about the cross-country move to continue her running career is exactly what excites many graduating seniors who endeavour to new places for their higher education.
“There’s new scenery, new courses, new competition, new teammates,” Valentine said. “It’s a different level of competition in college.”
After beginning to run at school as a fifth-grader, she continued with a local club called Aftershock, but stopped once reaching high school. She said she likes running because of the mental toughness that it develops.
She also considered continuing her studies at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and Manhattanville College in New York, but two visits to Lyndon State helped sway her decision.
“I made an official visit in April,” Valentine said. “The coach and team were really nice. I really liked it up there, it’s really pretty.
“I really enjoy running and I wanted to experience a new team and a new level of competition.”