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   SACRAMENTO, Calif. ““ St. Francis senior Lauren LaRocco has committed to run for the University of Portland this fall. She will officially sign...

   SACRAMENTO, Calif. ““ St. Francis senior Lauren LaRocco has committed to run for the University of Portland this fall. She will officially sign her National Letter-of-Intent on Wednesday.

   “I am really excited,” said LaRocco. “There are so many benefits to running in college. It is going to be a really fun experience. I have been told on my visits how great it is to be part of a team. It sounds like a blast.”

   Portland is coached by Ian Solof. The Pilot cross country team finished ninth at the NCAA West Regionals and second at the West Coast Conference meet.

   “Portland is definitely a new experience,” said LaRocco. “They have a different culture. I really liked when I visited. It seemed like the best school for me both athletically and academically.”

   LaRocco plans to major in mechanical engineering.

   “I loved how the people were so friendly and it felt like a community like St. Francis,” said LaRocco, who was recruited by more than 200 schools.

   LaRocco was named the Delta River League Runner of the Year in cross country. She won the Delta River League individual title for the third consecutive season and finished sixth overall at the CIF Cross Country state championships.

   “I could not have predicted (the success),” said LaRocco, who ran competitively for the first time as a freshman. “When I made my decision to do cross country over soccer, I thought I might have a better chance of running in college. But I never thought scholarship. It is crazy.”

   LaRocco won six races on the season and became the first runner in school history to break both the 18:00 and 17:00 marks for the 5K race. She was joined on the all-league team by teammates Madison Rawson, Miranda Myers and Camille Boudreaux.

   “It was a great senior year,” said LaRocco. “I set goals with John (DuCray) at the beginning of the year. I quickly changed those goals at the beginning of the season based on how I was running. I did better than expected.”

   LaRocco missed qualifying for nationals by less than one second, a fact that put a downer on her season finale.

   “I was really upset about that for a while but it is just motivation to keep working hard,” said LaRocco, who hopes to run 4:55 for the mile and 10:30 for the two-mile this track season.

   She is one of four members of the Troubadour track and field program signing Wednesday and five overall, bringing the total to 23 St. Francis student-athletes with commitments to compete next fall.


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