She had many offers, but she could only choose one, and she picked one close to home.
By COLE BENZ | Record Editor
After considering multiple schools, Scranton senior Taylor Hestekin is taking her talents to Bismarck. On Wednesday, Nov. 16, she signed her letter-of-intent to run for the University of Mary Marauders.
“It’s really exciting, I guess I didn’t really think I was going to go there until recently actually,” she said. “But it’s exciting.”
Hestekin said that her choices came down to three different schools, which included one in Minnesota. But she decided on the University of Mary in part because of the proximity to her home in Scranton. Hestekin said she toured the facilities and the dormitories and was sold on the program.
She said she first started getting recruiting calls just prior to the beginning of the school year, but her coach has been fielding those calls a little while longer.
Head coach Kelly Pierce said he had started getting calls from coaches as early as last spring.
“She’s been being recruited fairly hard since last spring,” he said. “As a junior she had plenty of coaches inquiring about her.”
He said he talked to at least six or seven schools, and told the Record that Hestekin earned the attention by her work on the track.
“It’s pretty exciting, she’s put in a lot of hard work, a lot of time trying to get to that point where she could run at the next level,” Pierce said.
Her new head coach, Mike Thorson, said they always like to recruit kids from smaller schools, in North Dakota.
“We’ve always kind of lived off of kids from smaller schools, typically they come in and they’re really developed,” Thorson said. “Kids from North Dakota are hard working.”
Thorson, who is beginning his 24th year as head coach, said he sees a lot of untapped potential in Hestekin, and that runners in her category (middle distance runners) tend to be very versatile for his team.
“They’re very valuable,” Thorson said. “And we’re always looking to sign that type of athlete, that 400, 800 [runner].”
Thorson added that do start Hestekin will compete in the 400 meter and 800 meter runs, and then they will go from there. But he also said they could get her in to different distances for the indoor season, which begins each December.
Though she’s excited, Hestekin still has her eyes on the upcoming high school season, and she’s not looking at it in any other way.
“I’d say I’m looking at it as any other season,” she said. “I’m excited, it’s my last [high school ]season so obviously I want to go out with a bang.”
Already she has seen the community give her a lot of support.
“It means a lot to me,” she said. “It’s definitely been a blessing and overwhelming but it’s really cool and I’m excited.”
Hestekin plans to enter the University of Mary in their pre-veterinarian studies program as she works towards her career goal of becoming a veterinarian.