After cementing her name in Wilsonville lore, Taryn Rawlings will compete for University of Portland next year.

by: DAVID BALL - Taryn Rawlings running for Wilsonville High School. Running started as a childhood pastime, a chance to see how she’d stack up against her older brother and his friends in races on the streets of her neighborhood.

In high school it turned into a passion, a venue to challenge herself more than she knew she could.

Now, it’s a future for Taryn Rawlings.

After putting together one of the most decorated running careers in Wilsonville High School history, the star Class of 2014 graduate will continue her athletic career at the University of Portland.

“It has been my dream since I was young to get a scholarship to a (Division I) college for running, and being able to do that at a school that really suited me is more than I could ask for,” she said. “I’m very excited to begin my journey there.”

Rawlings will compete under the tutelage of cross-country and track and field coach Ian Solof, a Pilots alumnus who has been at the helm since 1995.

She said she knew UP was the right place for her after an official visit. She had an opportunity to interact with members of the program and was excited by the prospect of joining a roster that includes several talented area athletes, including a fellow 1,500-meter state champion in Portland-Franklin alumna Julia Fonk.

Rawlings added that she was drawn to UP by its campus feel and small class sizes.

“I immediately could see myself fitting right in,” she said. “I saw they had some amazing runners, and training with them would only help me get better.”

Rawlings said she didn’t invest fully in running at the beginning of her stint with the Wildcats, but it was clear early on that she had plenty of capital in terms of sheer ability.

In her first fall term of high school, Rawlings won the first of her three Northwest Oregon Conference titles in cross-country and took second place at the OSAA state championships.

She finished her cross-country career at WHS with four top-10 state finishes. She placed 10th as a sophomore with a time of 19 minutes 21 seconds, took sixth as a junior (19:19) and was seventh this past season in 19:04.

Rawlings figures to bolster a Portland women’s cross-country program that took ninth place at the NCAA West Regional this past fall. She holds the Wilsonville girls’ 5,000-meter record with the 17:59.7 that she clocked Oct. 11 at Sandelie Golf Course, crushing the time of 18:25 that Melissa Brown set in 2004.

“I started out just running for fun and not putting much work and training into it, but after seeing and running against some of the best runners in the state I grew a huge sense of competitiveness and drive to be the best I possibly could,” she said.

Rawlings’ success carried over to the spring track season as she compiled numerous individual accolades while helping the Wildcats in the relays and team standings.

She captured three state championships, winning the 800 twice and adding a 1,500 title in her junior season. Rawlings came close to a three-peat in the 800, taking second place to wrap up her final campaign May 24 at Hayward Field in Eugene.

She also led the Wilsonville girls to their first league track and field title since joining the NWOC and helped them take sixth place at the Class 5A meet this year.

Rawlings graduates with the high school’s top times in the 800 (2:12.08), 1,500 (4:46.97) and 3,000 (10:07.90). She’s already within striking distance of the UP women’s 800 record of 2:06.61 that Cori Moore set in 2011.

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