SANDPOINT — It was two for the price of one for Sandpoint senior Kendall Stratton this week when she signed to play soccer at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.
Not only was she able to fulfill a longtime goal of playing soccer in college, but the school she chose is known for its top notch exercise science program, the very program she’s studying in her hopes of becoming a doctor.
The All-Inland Empire League defender took a visit to the school, which is located near both Portland and the Oregon Coast, two of Stratton’s favorite places.
“I saw their facilities and I was in love instantly,” said Stratton, who was also enamored by the coaches at the Division III school. “Their coaches are the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
Stratton should know. On a visit to the school two months ago, she was scrimmaging with the team when she tore her ACL on the school’s turf.
Undeterred, the coaches offered her a spot on the team, where she can be the manager for the first year and hopefully a starter once her knee heals. The coaches and a few teammates have stayed in touch with Stratton, a compassionate gesture that makes her want to play for them even more.
“I’m just excited to go on to that next level,” she said, eager to meet new teammates after playing with largely the same group of girls since her youth. “Seeing that higher caliber, high-intensity soccer.”
Stratton, who holds a robust 4.1 GPA, has applied for more than 50 scholarships to help her in college. She is also headed to the HOSA nationals in Florida after she took first place in Idaho in medical photography. Photography is in her genetic code, as grandfather Erik Daarstad and mom Kari Saccomanno are both skilled behind the lens. She has been shooting for the SHS yearbook all year.
Stratton was also considering Carroll College, Whitman, Willamette and Puget Sound, many of which are in the Northwest Athletic Conference, where Pacific went 10-6-4 last season.
Saccomanno was happy to see her daughter find the right fit academically.
“It’s the perfect choice for her,” Saccomanno said. “She couldn’t have done better.”