Back from a trip to her new school, Clare Culligan was almost instantly sold.
There was no question that the St. John’s Prep senior wanted to go to the University of San Diego, no matter what.
That’s why she confirmed Monday she’ll be attending the school, which has an NCAA Division I women’s soccer program, in the fall.
“I’ve officially committed to the University of San Diego, which I’m excited about,” Culligan said.
Culligan is a three-time St. Cloud Times player of the year who wound up with 134 career goals, third-most in state history. She scored 54 her senior year when St. John’s Prep was 10-7-0. It was her sixth year on the varsity.
A member of the coaches association all-state team, she narrowed her collegiate choices to two Southern California schools, San Diego and Occidental College, a Division III program.
After her visit, San Diego was her choice. It’s a private college with an enrollment of 8,000 students. She has spoken extensively with head coach Ada Greenwood, who has led the Toreros for nine seasons. San Diego, which was host to NCAA tournament games, was 8-11 in 2012, last making the NCAA tournament in 2011. It’s a member of the West Coast Conference.
The plan is for Culligan to accept a redshirt, train in the fall, then play in a spring league from January through May with the rest of the Toreros.
She likes the notion of being able to acclimate to college life in a location far from her Avon home before dealing with the pressure of Division I athletics. She plans on a communications major.
“A lot of the specifics aren’t complete,” she said. “But that’s what I’m planning on.”
San Diego’s roster is filled with players from the West Coast. There was one other Minnesotan on the 2012 team, Olivia Schultz, a sophomore from Holy Angels who plays midfielder and defense.
“I’m really looking forward to going away to school,” Culligan said. “I love Minnesota, but when I was looking for colleges on-line my sophomore year, I fell in love with San Diego.”
She had several experiences with the area and the program before her most recent visit last week. Her and her father took a trip to the school last February. After attending soccer camp at Stanford University in the Bay Area, she went to San Diego’s select soccer camp last summer. The trips just cemented her decision.
“I’m very happy with the way things worked out,” she said, noting she found the people friendly and that the school’s academic tradition stood out.
With her decision finalized, she is now gearing up for track and field season at St. John’s Prep. She missed the Johnnies’ lone indoor meet because she was out of town. Because of the poor spring weather, four outdoor meets have been postponed already.
“It’s kind of hard because you want your times to go down from last year and it’s going to be hard,” she said. “But everyone’s in the same boat.”
* Granite Ridge Conference activities directors met Monday in Foley to discuss rescheduling this spring in order to have a fair amount of contests with less than a month until the playoffs begin in softball.
The solution is likely to be a new schedule with doubleheaders scheduled in baseball and softball.
* Nik Peterson’s resignation is one the agenda for Thursday’s St. Cloud school board meeting. Peterson already has resigned as St. Cloud Apollo’s girls basketball and baseball head coach and as a football assistant. He also is a special education teacher at North Junior High.
Peterson was suspended by the school district following the girls basketball season. The Data Practices Act prevents school officials from discussing the reason.
* Hall of Fame Lake City boys basketball coach Jerry Snyder, in the area visiting family, called to point out that the Lake City baseball team is 4-1, having played five outdoor games in southeastern Minnesota. His point: At least one baseball team has played some outdoor baseball, though none have in Central Minnesota.