Following a trio of official recruiting visits, White River’s Payton Stroud decided to pack her bags for Illinois and lend her wrestling talents to the McKendree University Bearcats.
The Hornet senior will take an impressive resumé to the NCAA Division II institution. In February, she captured a state championship at 120 pounds, rising to the top in a field that included female grapplers from schools of all sizes. As a junior she had also advanced to the state finals, taking second.
Nationally, she has been ranked No. 4 in the last two polls compiled by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, USA Wrestling and FloWrestling.
Plenty of schools came calling, including a number who are new to the growing world of womens’ wrestling. In the end, Stroud determined she would prefer joining an established program. To that end, she visited Menlo College (in California’s Silicon Valley) and King University (Bristol, Tennessee), as well as McKendree.
McKendree University, a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, is recognized as a national power in women’s wrestling. The past two seasons, the Bearcats have placed third at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association national championship.
Located in Lebanon, Illinois, McKendree is a private, liberal arts university with a student enrollment of about 3,500.
Also headed off to college, but staying a bit closer to home, are White River athletes Chloe Narolski, Lee Audrey Norris and Kiana Harris.
Narolski is headed to Centralia College as a two-sport student-athlete. She will turn out for both the Trailblazers’ basketball and soccer programs.
Following her senior season of soccer at White River, Narolski was voted Most Valuable Player by Sound Puget Sound League 2A coaches; following her final season of basketball, she was a first-team, all-league selection.
Norris also has been a part of the successful White River girls basketball program and will take her skills to Corban University in Salem, Oregon.
She was the SPSL 2A’s Most Valuable Player following the winter season and was the leading scorer on a Hornet team that again qualified for the state tournament.
As a member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference, Corban is affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Harris will head over the Cascade Mountains to Ellensburg, where she will play soccer at Central Washington University.
She was a first-team, all-SPSL defender following her senior season at White River.