Scholarship sends Waimea student to US

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Waimea College student Sami Jordan will be pursuing her academic and running future in the US after gaining an athletic scholarship at Maryville University in St Louis, Missouri.

Sami, who plans to study biochemical engineering at Maryville University for three years before finishing her degree at Washington University in St Louis, signed up for the scholarship last Wednesday. That capped a big day for the 17-year-old who had earlier received the second highest academic honour at the Waimea College prizegiving.

“We started looking at schools that matched academically and athletically back in June and Maryville looked perfect,” Sami says. “It has a good running team – they have recruited really well for next year and think they could have a chance of making the national champs in two or three years.”

The talented 1500m, 3000m and cross-country runner, who has been making good progress under the astute guidance of Greg Lautenslager, says she is likely to focus on racing the longer distances at Maryville. She has already spoken with her future coach, Mickey Kaufmen, and he is keen to see her try the 3000m steeplechase and step up to 5000m and 10,000m on the track.

Sami will also have to adjust to a more demanding racing schedule with a big emphasis on indoor track meetings on the US collegiate circuit. She will start her scholarship in August right in the middle of the indoor and cross-country season.

“In New Zealand, we only have the track season in summer and cross-country in winter but the indoor track season is really big in the US. It will be a full-on year of racing.”

Although Sami doesn’t join the Maryville track team until August, she plans to start following a new training programme devised by Mickey after nationals in March.