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, University of Oklahoma, on Wednesday morning in a crowded Ursuline gym.
"I love the team, the coach, and the school," said Welch, who was joined by her teammates, coaches, family, and friends. "I can't wait."
Welch has been a member of the Varsity Cross Country and Track and Field teams for four years. She was part of three cross country state titles and secured a career-best second place finish in her race this year.
"High school goes by so fast," said Welch, who is also a two-time Academic All-State recipient. "Just enjoy the moment. I was really happy with how I finished at state. It was bittersweet."
Her consistency in the offseason 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 there at Ursuline on Wednesday.
"She was a wonderful leader for her younger teammates," Cross Country Coach Jonathan Moody said. "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," Welch said. "I loved it too much."