Janna Schaafsma has always been able to hurdle whatever obstacles happened to be in her path with ease.
The Soldotna High School senior was able to handle her college selection in the same manner, signing a national letter of intent to attend Seattle Pacific University next fall where she will compete on the Falcons' NCAA Division II track and field team.
"I went down to visit at the beginning of October and requested to meet with the track coach," Schaafsma said. "I met with him, he had me run around a little bit and do some hurdles. He called me a week later and offered a scholarship."
Schaafsma said she knew she wanted to run in college and was hoping to win some scholarship money, but admitted that the offer she got from Seattle Pacific was more than she expected.
As a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, Schaafsma also is eligible for an impressive academic scholarship to go along with her athletic package.
Schaafsma said that the Seattle Pacific coach must have seen her potential to offer her a scholarship.
"I think a lot of it was that even though other recruits had faster times, he felt I had a lot of potential to take time off my marks," Schaafsma said. "The track season is so short up here. I'd like to think that once I go somewhere where the track season is longer than two and a half months and meets aren't canceled because of snow, I could run faster."
Last spring, Schaafsma won both the 100-yard and 300-yard hurdles at the Alaska School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships. Schaafsma took the 100 hurdles in 15.03 seconds and came back to win the 300 hurdles in 45.11 seconds.
At the college level, Schaafsma anticipates running the 400 hurdles and the 100 hurdles.
The Seattle Pacific team finished ninth at the 2001 NCAA Division II National Championships and is the two-time defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champion.
Schaafsma, who has a 4.0 grade point average at Soldotna, said she will be able to pursue her academic goals at Seattle Pacific.
"I'm planning to stay premedicine," Schaafsma said. "Another reason I was looking at Seattle Pacific is that a lot of their undergraduates go on to med school at the University of Washington."
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