Sailor Hutton’s stellar running career for Bandon High School led the senior to a tough decision for college. At least she was choosing between two good options.

Hutton signed a letter of intent last week to compete for Boise State University in Idaho, choosing the Broncos over the University of Idaho, which offered a better scholarship but not the academic program she is interested in.

Both schools recruited her, along with the University of Portland. Ultimately, she chose Boise State and its medical imaging program because Idaho wouldn’t have given her an opportunity to directly pursue that degree as an undergraduate.

Still, after visiting both schools and getting to know the people associated with both teams, it wasn’t easy to make the call turning down the full ride offered by the Vandals.

“I think the yes (to Boise State) was easier to say,” she said. “The no was hard for me.”

Boise state will pay Hutton’s tuition and fees (with a chance to earn more if she becomes a contributor for the team). She will have to pay for living expenses through other scholarships or funds.

At Boise State, Hutton is joining a strong program. The Broncos are ranked 10th this season and qualified for the NCAA championships after placing fourth at the West Regionals, just behind defending NCAA champion Oregon.

Only three of the seven runners who competed in the meet for the Broncos are seniors. Sophomore Allie Ostrander was second, freshman Emily Venters 22nd and sophomore Claire O’Brien 28th.

Hutton has spent her career at Bandon mostly trying to train with the boys since she is faster than her female teammates and she is looking forward to having fast teammates.

“That’s a different experience for me,” she said. “I think I will be able to improve quite a bit.”

Tricia Hutton, Sailor’s mom, said she was proud of her daughter for choosing Boise State.

“She had an opportunity to run at another college for free and she chose the harder road,” Tricia said. “She looked for her academics, too. She wanted to earn her spot on the team.

“I’m excited for her.”

Brent Hutton, Sailor’s father and Bandon’s cross country coach, said he also is excited about Sailor’s opportunity and expects her to thrive for a couple of reasons.

First, he isn’t worried about her being homesick or having that impact her schooling or running.

“She’s really strong-willed,” he said. “I think she is prepared for it.”

Second, Boise State is big on academics for the athletes, providing a strong tutoring program and requiring freshmen to spend a number of hours every week in the tutoring lab.

Third, the Boise State coaches “are committed to bringing her along at the right speed,” Hutton said, describing the freshman year as a break-in year of sorts to figure out what style of training program works best for each runner.

While Sailor Hutton’s college plans are set, her twin brother, Hunter, is still working on finding a college. Sailor’s stellar career has included six individual state titles on the track and one in cross country to go with three individual runner-up finishes.

Hunter’s only individual state titles came last spring in the pole vault and 1,500, but Brent Hutton expects him to blossom as a college runner.

“He still hasn’t reached close to his potential,” Brent said in the week leading up to the recent state meet, where Hunter placed third. “We have to figure out how to get him to a college. He is going to get exponentially faster.”

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