For Winter Park senior Kira Soderstrom the decision on where to run collegiately came down to two schools, Florida and Southern Cal. Soderstrom, a member of the 2010 4x8 state championship squad decided earlier this week to head to the west coast and run for the Trojans.
“I was torn between there and UF but already had my heart set on USC. I knew that I would most likely be able to compete there my first year. I also loved my host and all the girls were amazing. It really felt like a good fit. So I called coach Morgan to tell him, and then immediately called the USC coach after.”
At first the distance was a factor for Soderstrom but a welcoming environment sold her on Southern Cal.
“California is a pretty far away place, but I really loved it there. I was going to visit UF in January and Coach Walsh actually encouraged me to do that, but then I talked everything over with my parents. If I look at the overall picture UF and USC are both great schools, and I am sure that I would love both.”
Other schools showing interest included Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, and Duke. Her passion for racing and the ability to make an impact is what separated the schools from her final choice.
“A main reason why I did not go to visit UF is because I am in love with racing. At UF they already have so many outstanding runners that it would be really hard for me to race my first year. I wanted a school where I could contribute my first year and race competitively.”
Due to a limited amount of athletic scholarships, she hopes to pay for her college education through other avenues.
“I am hoping to receive merit-based scholarship, and I am also working on applying for local scholarships. I plan to major in Math and Economics, and maybe I will have a minor in Marine Biology because I think it would be really cool to be a dolphin trainer.”
As her senior year winds down and college comes a calling, Soderstrom is excited to take in the experience.
“I know that everything is going to be new and interesting. I really like surrounding myself with new people and new personalities. It is really going to be cool meeting so many people all at once without having any true previous ties besides for the cross country girls that I met on my visit. I am excited to run against the best of the best. I know USC has amazing competition, and that will only help me push myself to be the best that I can become. I plan on breaking 18 minutes in my 5k when I go there, but other than that I am going there only with high hopes and confidence in Coach Walsh's ability to make me the best runner that I can be.”