By Kelly Morris / Special Contributor
Her Ursuline cross country career might be over, but senior Elise Welch isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
The standout runner signed her National Letter of Intent with her dream school, the University of Oklahoma, on Wednesday morning.
“I love the team, the coach, and the school,” said Welch, who was joined by her teammates, coaches, family, and friends during a ceremony at Ursuline. “I can’t wait.”
Welch has been a member of the cross country and track and field teams for four years. She was part of three TAPPS cross country state title teams and secured a career-best second place individual finish in her race this year.
“High school goes by so fast,” Welch said. “Just enjoy the moment. I was really happy with how I finished at state. It was bittersweet.”
Her consistency in the summer led to a successful season. She constantly increased mileage and won three meets this season, including this year’s district meet. She trained with Jesuit’s senior cross country runners in the summer, and they made sure to be at Ursuline on Wednesday to support her.
“She was a wonderful leader for her younger teammates,” said Ursuline cross country coach Jonathan Moody. “She was the lone senior at state this year. It was a challenging course, but the leader didn’t pull away until the last 400 meters. They traded the lead back and forth. It was an outstanding race.”
Elise will once again run the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in the spring. She placed fourth in both events at the TAPPS state meet as a sophomore.
Elise will study human health and biology at Oklahoma. She loves neuroscience and wants to be a doctor. She’ll always keep running, too.
“When I was younger, I didn’t know if I’d be able to get to that level, but after my junior year, I knew I couldn’t stop running,” she said. “I loved it too much.”