Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – As soon as Trysta Rucker went to visit Southern Oregon University, the Lee Williams High School senior knew it was the right place to continue her track and field career. Rucker had a number of other options, but made her choice official Wednesday as she signed a Letter of Intent to become a SOU Raider.
“I loved the school, the coaches, the town and everything about it,” Rucker said.
Rucker earned an academic scholarship to SOU, but said the school wants to see how well she does this year to decide on an athletic scholarship. Rucker does already have a spot on the college team though, and Lee Williams track and field coach Joan Abraham couldn’t be happier.
“I’m really proud of her,” Abraham said. “I know she worked really hard and this has been a dream for three years. The dream has come to fruition. She’s headed where she wants to be.”
Rucker started out on the Lady Vols track and field team as a freshman before missing last season due to knee surgery.
As she prepares for her senior campaign, Rucker knows that it will be no match compared to her first year of college track and field.
“I’m going to have to do a lot more conditioning and exercises,” Rucker said. “But I think I’ll be able to get into it easily. I’m very excited.”
Abraham knows that the transition might not be easy at first, but she believes Rucker has the right mindset to succeed at the next level.
“She’s going to find out she has a lot of hard work ahead of her,” Abraham said. “I think she can handle it and she’ll be just fine. She has the focus and she knows what she wants. But at the beginning, it’ll be ‘wow, I really have to work hard.’ But I know she can do it.”
Rucker said her new coaches want her to compete in multi-events and they think she’ll have a pretty good impact on the team. Those aren’t the only people who believe in Rucker though.
“My family is really excited,” she said. “My dad and mom are really proud of me. I’m the oldest and the first kid to go to college. They weren’t sure about what I was going to do, but now it’s all set. It means a lot, honestly. It takes all the stress away and makes everything a lot easier.”
Rucker can also rest easy knowing “Aunt Joan” plans to make the more than 800-mile trek to see her compete next year.
“More than likely my husband and I, the high jump coach, will end up there watching her at least one time,” Abraham said.