Shawnee Mission Northwest (KS) senior Molly Born, who has dominated Class 6A distance running since the spring of her freshman year, has committed to run at Oklahoma State University next year.
This fall, Born took official visits to Oklahoma State, Iowa State, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Utah.
"They are all incredible schools and athletic programs and I would be fortunate to be a part of any of them," Born said. "I appreciate all of the time and effort each school put in during the recruitment process. I have decided to attend Oklahoma State next year to continue my academic and athletic career. Coach Dave Smith and the rest of the coaches and team made me feel right at home. I am excited about continuing to improve and being a part of such an amazing team!"
Born, a six-time Kansas state champion, will miss this weekend's state cross country championships due to a stress fracture she suffered sometime during the 2017 track and field season. The injury prevented her from running in the state track and field championships in late May.
Prior to that, Born was having a stellar season, with a series of PRs that had placed her on the national ranking lists.
She was part of a trio of Kansas girls who were lighting up the track last spring. Together with Girard's Cailie Logue and Lawrence Free State's Emily Venters, the three girls were drawing national attention for a series of races in which they went head-to-head-to-head.
On April 20, they matched up in the 3200 meter run at the Kansas Relays. Born finished second to Logue but ran a career-best 10:10.64.
Two weeks later, on May 5, they got together at the Shawnee Mission North Relays and Born was second again, this time posting a career best of 4:48.87 for 1600 meters.
It was shortly after that race that Born was diagnosed with a navicular stress fracture in her right foot, cutting short her 2017 track and field season. Though she had hoped to make it back for the latter part of the current cross country season, she and coach Van Rose decided it was in her best interest to recover fully rather than risk further damage this fall.
Born placed fifth at the Kansas cross country championships as a freshman in 2014, which, as it turns out, has been the only time she has been beaten at a state meet in her high school career. She has since won the cross country championship in 2015 and 2016, as well as sweeping the 1600 and 3200 on the track in 2015 and 2016.
Last fall, she powered to a win at the Nike Heartland Regional cross country meet with a career-best 16:49. She went on to place 23rd at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, OR.
Her winning time at Nike regionals was the sixth-best time in the United States entering the 2017 cross country season. She was ranked No. 12 in the MileSplit USA Flo50 rankings of the top 25 female cross country runners in the country entering the 2017 season.
Despite her wild success, Born has remained humble and gracious for those who have helped her along the way, including her teammates.
"Thank you to all that have helped me through this recruiting process," she said. "I couldn't have done it without you!"