For 12 years, senior Halie Raudenbush knew she loved soccer and wanted to play in college.
“I had been going on recruiting visits and had been heavily recruited,” Raudenbush said.
But then, disaster struck.
“I was at a soccer camp at New Mexico State, and on the first day of camp I tore my ACL there,” she said. “I went through rehab and did everything perfect, and then I re-tore my meniscus and then that’s when I made the transition to track.”
Raudenbush said rehabilitation gave her the opportunity to explore running.
“I had always enjoyed running,” Raudenbush said. “I’m someone who can be very calm and relaxed, and I kind of really like the relaxing part of it,” Raudenbush said.
Once she committed herself, Raudenbush said she reevaluated her athletic career.
She said being on a collegiate team was always important, and she didn’t want all of her effort in sports and running wasted.
“I knew that I really wanted to do a sport in college and soccer wasn’t really working out,” Raudenbush said. “That’s when running kind of found me and I started looking at schools.”
She began looking for schools accepting walk-ons. Idaho fit the bill.
Once she started exploring Idaho, she said she became hooked on the atmosphere.
“I really like the community here,” Raudenbush said. “That’s really big for me because you can feel important. You feel like you’re making a difference here, but it’s a big enough community where you have so many people around you that will help you make the difference.”
With the Big Sky Conference Championships Oct. 28, Idaho assistant coach Travis Floeck said he is excited to see how Raudenbush finishes the season.
“She came into this cross-country season more prepared for a season, be in cross-country, indoor (track), outdoor (track), since I’ve coached her,” Floech said. “She put in the work and a high level of dedication over the summer and I’m excited.”
Raudenbush said she’s made steady improvements throughout her career.
“She has the ability to run with anybody on our team,” Floech said. “She really is one of the top runners.”
Raudenbush said she is excited to host the championship meet.
“Hosting conference is huge because visualization is really key. You can see yourself on the course and know what’s going on, and then you can think about it,” Raudenbush said.
Raudenbush said it’s a huge advantage for Idaho because everyone knows what to expect, regardless of what the weather.
“We know what’s going on here because we’ve been training here,” Raudenbush said. “We know what the weather is going to be like and what to expect, so we’re not going to be thrown off if it is a windy day, or a rainy day or a cold day.”
She said hosting the conference is a huge confidence boost and hopes it will help the entire women’s team bring home a trophy.
“Our women’s team is very good this year, so a goal of mine is to win conference as a team and for me individually is to make it on an All-Conference team this year,” Raudenbush said. “But a main goal is to win conference as a team, and hopefully my individual goals with follow that.”
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mihaela_jo