THORNTON -- Riverdale Ridge girls soccer forward Ashlee Trujillo wanted a new school that offered nursing studies and some more soccer on the side.
She found such a place and signed her college letter of intent Feb. 25 to do those things at Concordia University.
"I went out there, talked to a lot of the coaching staff and the girls," she said. "It was fun meeting with them. It felt like an open community, It felt like something I was interested in doing. It's smaller (Concordia is in Seward, Nebraska, population 7,300 in 2020). I feel more comfortable in a smaller area than out in front of a bunch of people."
Trujillo, who was one of the original Ravens' girls soccer players -- she was a goalie before moving into the forward position -- also visited York College and a couple of others "that never sparked my interest."
"It's been a pleasure to watch you grow," said RRHS girls soccer coach Danelle Dondelinger. "She has an amazing ability to pay attention to everything she sets her mind to."
Trujillo scored 12 goals for a Ravens' team that went 6-4 last spring.
"The professor knew how to help me get to where I want to go, which is nursing," Trujillo said. "Even though they don't have a nursing program there, it was very planned out and it seemed nice to go there and have it set for me. Right after (undergrad work), I'll do one year of intense clinicals."
Trujillo has been interested in nursing for a while. But it took a while to select the field of nursing she wants to try.
"I chose NICU (newborn intensive care unit)," she said. "I like it a lot better than being in a sad place with old people and seeing them struggle. I want to help kids have a life they never had."
A pandemic-based recruiting process has had its share of lumps for high-school athletes, thanks to decreased scholarships and in-person visits.
"It's complicated, not being able to go out and actually see places," Trujillo said, "having to do online tours and online meetings and meeting girls online. You never got the true feeling of what it felt like to see a college. The visit was recent, after COVID and the mask mandate. It was very normal. A lot of students helped with my tour. I got to eat with some of the students. It was a good experience."
Trujillo is excited, scared and nervous about what lies ahead.
"A little bit of everything," she said. "It's nerve-racking but fun to branch out and do what Ashlee wants to do."
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