Seabury Hall's Dakota Grossman, the Maui Interscholastic League record-holder for state titles, will sign a letter of intent today to run for the University of Utah.
"I am really excited and it was actually unexpected, but I went on my trip and it was really fun and I got to see all of the facilities and hang out with the team," the eight-time individual state champion said Friday. "It is really nice over there, so I'm really happy that I chose this school."
Grossman nearly decided to go to Northern Colorado, but her father and coach, Bobby Grossman, made a call to the Utah coaching staff recently and it led to Dakota Grossman's official visit to the school in Salt Lake City earlier this week.
Seabury Hall senior Dakota Grossman says she will likely compete primarily in the 1,500 meters for the Utah track and field team, and also run cross country.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Dakota Grossman said she has been offered a full scholarship.
"I was always looking at Division I schools and now I get to stay in the Pac-12 and it's really competitive," she said. "I am going to improve, too."
Seabury's Alyssa Bettendorf has signed with Northern Colorado.
INDIVIDUAL STATE TITLES FOR MIL ATHLETES
8-Dakota Grossman, Seabury Hall (cross country, track and field)
7-Tia Ferguson, Seabury Hall (cross country, track and field)
5-Bailey Massenburg, King Kekaulike (cross country, track and field)
5-Chelsea Nagata, Baldwin (swimming)
* * *
6-Renny Richmond, Seabury Hall (swimming)
6-Cheyne Bloch, Baldwin (swimming)
6-Jack Pope, Lahainaluna (swimming)
5-Caleb Rowe, Baldwin (swimming)
"I always kept in contact with the coach at Northern Colorado, but Utah is a better fit for me," Grossman said.
Salt Lake City is more than 4,000 feet above sea level.
"I went on a seven-mile run with them when I was over there and after a couple miles you can feel the altitude, but you just get used to it," Grossman said. "Supposedly if you go back down to sea level it will be a lot easier, so you can run faster."
She said she basically made her decision Tuesday, her last day in Utah.
"The last day I was there, I talked to the coach for a long time, he just kind of explained to me the whole process and how much money they were willing to help me out with," she said. "He said I could think about it when I got home. I knew that was it, so he sent me all the papers."
Grossman plans to sign at her 18th birthday party today. NCAA women's teams are limited to 18 scholarships and often give partial aid to athletes.
"It means a lot," Grossman said of the full ride. "I don't really have to stress about the cost or anything. It's a good school at the same time, so I'm not just going there because they're giving me that big of an offer."
Grossman plans to major in sports science - she is considering pursuing a law career in graduate school - and concentrate on the 1,500 meters in track. She will also run cross country, where she was a four-time state champion.
"I think I am just going to stick with being a miler and sometimes they will have me do longer or shorter distances," she said.
Amanda Mergaert finished third in the NCAA outdoor 1,500 meters in June for Utah - she was also an All-American in indoor track and cross country.
"Knowing that they can get athletes up to that level and they are also a building team at the same time, so hopefully I will be able to help them out in cross country and track," Grossman said.
One goal remains before graduating high school. The Spartans came up one point short of winning the state track and field team championship last year and have been close throughout Grossman's career.
"We are going for the team title, again," she said. "We really want it."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org