About two years ago, Nicole Woodall decided she wanted to attend St. Ambrose University because of the school’s occupational therapy program.
Last summer, she thought she may have a chance to run cross country and track and field for the Fighting Bees.
So she went out and proved it.
Woodall, a runner on the Henry-Midland cross country and track and field teams, worked to cut her time in cross country in hopes of finishing in less than 20 minutes, and she reached the goal at the IHSA Class 1A State Meet in November.
Then in December, she was offered a spot on the St. Ambrose teams.
“It’s a dream come true that I get to do cross country and track,” said Woodall, who signed with the NAIA school Wednesday.
Woodall also considered the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
“I really like the campus (at St. Ambrose),” Woodall said. “The atmosphere is really welcoming. … Everyone I know who’s went there has loved it.”
Last season, Woodall helped the Lady Timberduck 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays earn state berths.
“Last year we placed Nicole in the 800-meter race,” said H-M coach Clark Owsley, who coaches Woodall in both cross country and track. “We knew it was a race she was capable of after trying the 1,600 and 3,200. We’re laying a good foundation. We’re not burning her out with a lot of miles and she’s getting solid speed training. She’s going to be ready to do a bunch of stuff in college with a cross country base and mid distance (experience).”
Owsley said Woodall is the first H-M cross country and track and field athlete to continue in college during his tenure as head coach.
“It’s huge for the program,” Owsley said. “You could see at the signing how many people were inspired by her signing and with a pretty legit program. It means a great deal to the program.”
The St. Ambrose women’s cross country team placed 21st nationally last season.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 2206939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.