WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — On Thursday morning, Winnebago senior Natalia Martino put the final signature on her national letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at Portland State University, in Portland, Oregon.
Martino was a cross country standout at Winnebago, helping the team win State during her junior season. Martino said running at the next level was a dream and goal she realized she wanted to accomplish during that same junior year.
Portland State is a division one program. Martino said while the pandemic made the college search process more difficult, she made sure to do her research on the University.
“The more and more information I found the more I felt like this was the right fit for me,” said Martino. “It has the program that I want, I can make the team, I can run with girls on the team. I won’t be the best, but I won’t be the worst which is nice so hopefully that allows me to help improve myself as a runner. “
Winnebago head cross country coach, Joe Erb, said Martino is an example for the rest of the girls in his program.
“She’s a grinder,” Erb said. “Even though she’s got talent, a lot of kids like to rest on their talent, but the great ones find a way to work and grind at their craft. Even though they have ability, they don’t rely on it.”
Martino was joined during her celebration by friends, fellow teammates, and coaches.