Blue Springs South senior Samantha Nighingale signed, sealed and delivered her pledge to run for Oklahoma State University. The process was slow at first for Nightingale, but she began to see the college interest grow from three to four schools to many after the high school season got under way. She says the hardest part was telling schools she wasn’t interested and in the end it was the Cowgirls program that roped her in.
“My top three schools were the University of Missouri, Oklahoma State and the University of Oregon. I chose Oklahoma State because it was within driving distance from home, and I loved the team and the coaches. What ultimately made my decision was when I went to the Brooks PR invitational and I met like five different people who had already committed to Oklahoma State and I loved them and hanging out with them. I felt a super tight connection with the coach right off the bat and that’s when I had a huge liking for Oklahoma State. He was one of the first schools who had called me and was the first coach to email my coach to get info on me.
Two former Missouri standouts Chelsey Pheobus and Kevin Colon are also members of the Oklahoma State track and field and cross country program and have shared their love and understanding which also helped Nightingale feel at ease. Phoebus, a freshman from Lee’s Summit West, was a two time All-American while in high school. Colon, also ran at Lee’s Summit West and had his first taste of collegiate running in 2011 as a OSU freshman. Both filled the high school senior in on what she can expect from the college experience. It’s an experience Nightingale is looking forward to.
“I can’t wait to make friendships that are going to last for the rest of my life, and I'm so excited to know what it truly means to be a distance runner. Also, I am looking forward to the fact that I will be off on my own and having to do and learn things for myself. I want to be the best athlete I can be, but also be the best student I can be. My academics will come before my running.”
Now that Nightingale knows where she will spend her college career, she can focus on her senior season of outdoor track. The senior has won back-to-back individual cross country state championships in Class 4. On the national stage, she finished second at Nike Midwest and 8th at Nike Nationals. The Blue Springs South senior says she doesn’t want to be known for just her cross country prowess.
“I'm so excited to run this year to prove that I'm not only just a cross country girl, but that I can run well on the track too. This is my first year actually training over the winter and now I'm just excited to see what happens when you train on the off season. My previous years in track haven't been so fun, from tearing something in my knee last season to being a freshman and running the 800m. I'm just pumped to prove and show people that I am not just a fluke, but someone that is willing to excel at both, cross country and track.”
She knows what it takes to be successful and she has that same passion for outdoor, however, she is focusing on the regular season first. Her goals are to run around 4:50 in the 1600 and between 10:20 and 10:30 for the 3200. Nightingale wants to go undefeated as well. No matter how her final season rounds out she says she will always remember her time at Blue Springs South.
“I will remember so much from Blue Springs South. I will remember that when I walk the hallways I was known as the really fast girl. Both of my cross country coaches have made a huge impact on my life. My team, well they are all my best friends, knowing that I won't be able to see them every day still kind of hurts, but I know that they will be cheering for me no matter what the future holds.”