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Winnebago’s Martino to run at Portland State

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 10:20 PM CST
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WINNEBAGO, Ill. (WIFR) - Natalia Martino is a state champion cross country runner, but she says she did not realize what her true potential was until winning that trophy with Winnebago last year.

After hitting the recruiting trail from the comforts of home, she can now be called a Division I athlete.

Martino signed on with Portland State Thursday morning with teammates and coaches watching on.

The Winnebago senior says she took it upon herself to find a program to join after her junior season and says Portland looks like a perfect place for her to live and run.

Martino says her final year of cross country and recruiting was not ideal, but she is proud of the way she handled herself.

“It’s very exciting,” said Martino. “It’s very nice to see that all my hard work did pay off. It was hard with the COVID situation to not be able to actually go to the college and see everything and not have a normal recruiting period, but I feel like once I got here, I was like, “I did it.” I’ve made it this far and I can’t wait to go to Portland and start a new chapter of my life. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Bago head coach Joe Erb says Martino is one of the best runners he has ever coached.

“It’s a really special moment when all the hard work they’ve put in over the course of four years pays off and there’s a reward in it and they have a passion that they want to keep competing at whatever level,” said Erb. “Going at the DI level and signing is, I know it’s a real special moment for her, for the coaches and the program and I’m just really proud of her.”

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