Rachel Proteau had lots of offers when it came to selecting her next school.
She has the grades and the athletic ability to go just about anywhere she wanted.
But as a top-level high jumper, turning down Cliff Rovelto would have been a hard thing to do for the West Albany senior.
Proteau didn’t, signing a letter of intent Wednesday with Kansas State University to compete in track and field.
Rovelto, the Wildcats’ head coach the past 20 years, has had five NCAA high jump champions and 44 All-Americans in the event.
Among Rovelto’s most accomplished high jumpers is current K-State senior Erik Kynard, who won silver at last year’s Olympics in London.
“I’m really excited about working with him. He knows high jump in and out,” Proteau said of Rovelto. “It was just the best fit for me. The high jump program there is absolutely amazing.”
Proteau has tallied a long list of athletic achievements the past few years.
She’s a two-time Oregon 5A state champion with a personal-best of 5 feet, 10¾ inches, which is also the 5A all-time record.
She reached that mark in taking second in the junior division of the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.
“She’s a pretty amazing high jumper. I think it’s pretty neat to have Rachel on the team,” West Albany coach Randy Nyquist said. “She sets the bar for everybody else on how to win.”
Proteau’s 2012 season was slowed by a calf injury suffered during club volleyball.
Though she still managed to repeat as state champion last May, tying her own meet record at 5-7.
Proteau says the calf is healed and her training has been strong.
Last week, she won the New Balance Boise Indoor with a clearance of 5-5.
“Everything is really healthy. My training has been going really well,” Proteau said.
She didn’t compete in volleyball this past fall, instead focusing on speed and strength training for track and field.
Proteau has her sights set on clearing 6-1 this spring.
That would give her the state’s all-time record among all classifications.
The current mark, 6-¾, was set by Sheridan’s Joni Huntley in 1974.
Early last year, Proteau had her heart set on going to Stanford. Though coaching changes with the Cardinal made her decide to change courses.
She made five official visits, including Kansas State, Oregon and Stanford, and gave her verbal commitment to the Wildcats late this past fall.
Kansas State awarded Proteau an athletic scholarship that will cover roughly 70 percent of her academic costs. An academic scholarship will cover the remaining amount.
She plans to major in biological systems engineering and hopes to eventually work in prosthetics or cartilage replacements.