Sehome High School senior Ruby Watson, a runner for Whatcom Tesseract, signed an NCAA Division I national letter of intent to run for Rice at a ceremony Wednesday evening at Core Kinetics Pilates in Bellingham.
“I feel like the team was a really good fit for me,” Watson said. “I liked the girls on the team and the warm weather.”
Watson enjoyed the balmy climate when she visited the Houston campus, as well as Yale and Lipscomb. She also was offered a visit to Tulane, but she already made her decision.
“I really liked the team environment at Rice,” Watson said. “The girls were welcoming and friendly, and it felt like they all got along good. I’m excited to join them.”
Watson ran for Sehome as a freshman, finishing sixth at the Class 2A State Cross Country Championships in 2013 to help the Mariners claim the team title.
But as a sophomore, she focused on running for Tesseract, where she qualified for the U.S. Track and Field 19-and-Under Track and Field Championships in the 3-kilometer run (9 minutes, 56 seconds) and 1,500 meters (4:34) the past three years.
Watson said she plans to run cross country and track and field for the Owls, who won their second consecutive Conference USA cross country title last month. Watson will run for veteran coach Jim Bevan, who’s in his 30th year with the program and the 11th leading it.
“He’s a really nice guy,” Watson said. “I’m really looking forward to working with him. He’s very friendly, and he keeps in touch with his athletes after they’ve moved on.”
A 4.0 student, Watson said she plans to major in biochemistry so she can go into medical research.
“I definitely wanted to go to a school that would challenge me academically as well as athletically,” Watson said. “I wanted to experience something different, and I think this is a really good opportunity. There are good people there to help me along the way.”