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Pine Creek's Bates commits to run for Colorado
Heather Bates had her pick on where to spend the next phase of her life in college. You name it, and the offer was probably on the table.
She visited Wisconsin, Portland, Vanderbilt and New Mexico. Coaches from Harvard came to see Bates run. The Pine Creek senior also had conversations with Purdue, Nebraska, Washington, North Carolina and TCU, just to name the ones she rattled off.
Then she went up the road to Boulder just after Christmas and figured out what was wrong with the others.
“Colorado was the only one where I didn’t look forward to going home,” said the defending 5A state cross country champion, who verbally committed to running for the Buffs late last month. “I couldn’t even imagine visiting anywhere else. CU has the academic program I’m looking for, and there are Olympians (Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp) on the team.”
Bates, also a two-time state 4A champion in the 3,200 meters while at Discovery Canyon as a sophomore and junior, would routinely spend upward of four hours a day on the phone with coaches pitching their respective schools.
When the contact period started July 1, the calls started coming. And after she crossed the finish line first at the 5A state cross country meet at the Norris-Penrose Event Center on Oct. 27, the interest reached a fever pitch.
Now that she’s contacted the other suitors - she also had to cancel a pending visit to Stanford - life has returned to normal.
“I went from having hundreds of calls every week to having silence for a while,” Bates said. “It’s nice to be done with that, and I’m pretty excited about my future.”
Bates plans on majoring in business and psychology before ultimately attending law school.
And the Olympics? Bates isn’t ruling anything out, especially at a school that has produced 10 Olympians and 25 that have reached the world championship level in either track or cross country.
“First and foremost, I’m going to school for an education,” Bates said. “But I will admit, running is my love, and if it (the Olympics) is a possibility, I want to find out. It’s definitely a goal of mine, and I don’t want to have any unknowns when I look back.”