EU’s Higginson signs with Ottawa University
Kelley Higginson was a little nervous about her big day on Tuesday.
The East Union High track and field standout wasn’t looking forward to giving a speech upon signing her letter of intent to run next year for Ottawa University, where she plans to major in Nutrition.
“It was nice having everyone here today,” she said, pointing out at friends, family, coaches and school officials.
The EU library was filled with those supporting Higginson, who also ran cross country for Lancers coach Rick Cuevas.
It also impressed her new coach at Ottawa, Breanna Leslie, who is a first-year assistant coach for the Spirits under Wade Watkins.
“We’re getting more than a great addition to our team — we’re getting great person and student,” said Leslie, who came all the way from the campus at Surprise, Ariz. for the signing event.
She’s penciling Higginson to do 400, 800, and the distance medley relay for the Ottawa track team. Leslie, who competed at the professional level — she did the pentathlete, heptathlete and 100-meter hurdles, from 2013 to 2016 — was impressed by Higginson’s proficiency and fluidity while view videos of her running.
“What especially struck me most was her politeness,” she said.
No surprise that Higginson also had her parents, Diana and Russell, along with her brother Matt in attendance.
Principal Raul Mora noted that Higginson “always has a home at East Union,” he said.
Cuevas called her his “hardest working distance runner – we’re going to miss you, Kelley,” he added.
Higginson looked a few schools prior to signing on for the Spirit. But none impressed her as much as Ottawa.
“I liked everything about the school,” she said.
The Ottawa University Arizona Spirit are part of the National Christian College Athletic Association. “We do compete a lot in California — Southern California,” said Leslie.
This year, for instance, they’ll compete in track meets held at Irvine, Claremont, Azusa, and Huntington Beach.
East Union High track and field standout Kelley Higginson signed a letter of intent Tuesday to run track for Ottawa University in Arizona. She’s joined, from left, by her brother Matt, parents Russell and Diana, Ottawa assistant coach Breanna Leslie and Lancers track / cross country coach Rick Cuevas.