Valarie Allman dutifully took the official five campus visits allowed under NCAA regulations.
Allman found each institution to be both intriguing and inspiring. Which, of course, are good things when it comes to deciding one's college of choice. For Allman, though, every potential suitor felt like a place she eventually could call home.
Yet when Allman visited Stanford, she couldn't help but notice a little extra spark stirring within her. And so on Monday, the Colorado state record-holder in the discus made her verbal commitment to join the track and field program at Stanford next year.
In addition to her trip to Stanford a little more than two weeks ago, Allman also took visits to Wake Forest, Duke, Oregon, and Arizona State.
"I'm still in a state of shock," Allman said. "It was a very, very tough decision. After I took my visits, I really thought I could go to any of those schools. But when I was at Stanford, I just had a gut feeling. They way the athletes treated me and the coaching staff, combined with the academics, it just felt like the right fit."
Allman was quick to credit the mentoring of Raptors track and field coach Barbara Keith and throwing coach Brian Gunnarson for helping her realize this dream.
Last spring, Allman broke the 18-year-old state record in the discus on her final throw of the Class 4A state meet, unleashing a toss of 164 feet to top Shelly Greathouse's mark of 160-1. Allman's unbelievable season led to a bevy of honors, including the Gatorade Colorado girls track and field Athlete of the Year and the BoCoPreps.com girls track and field Athlete of the Year.
With her college choice finally decided, Allman is squarely focused on her upcoming senior season in the spring. Barring injury, she is a virtual lock to break her own state record, and she reports that this past summer she topped out at 167 feet.
"This process is exciting but it's tough to balance with your senior year," said Allman, who also placed eighth in Class 4A in the shot put. "Right now I'm just working a lot in the weight room and I've been adjusting some of my technique a little. I'm just taking things week to week and trying to trust my coaches."
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