Allison Rockley has blazed trails as a cross country star at Kankakee Valley. Now, she’s a trailblazer of a different sort. The Kougars’ senior is the first signee of Indiana University Northwest’s new NAIA-sanctioned cross-country program.
“This is awesome. I’m glad I get to continue my career to the next level because it’s part of my life,” Rockley said. “I can just keep doing what I love to do.”
Rockley, planning to study radiology, is the first recruit to commit to the school for either the women’s or men’s teams. The teams are slated to begin competition this fall.
“We want to build a program with athletes just like Allison,” RedHawks coach Javier Heridia said. “We are thrilled to have a quality runner to begin this journey as we build the program at IUN.”
“(Heridia) is getting the best KV has to offer,” Kougars cross-country and track coach Lane Lewallen said. “She is everything right in high school athletics. “She’s a tremendous leader, team first all the time, and an outstanding young lady.”
Her resume is chock full of individual and team achievements. Rockley is a four-time All Northwest Crossroads Conference First Team member, a semi-state individual qualifier in 2013 and the team’s captain and most valuable runner. Her teams have won two NCC team championships, three sectional titles, and two semi-state qualifiers. On the track team, she is also captain as well as an All-NCC selection on the 3,200-meter relay team and the top long distance runner in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
Rockley’s running performances drew Heridia’s scouting interest, but her character drove him to make her an offer.
“Athletically, I liked her times in general; her track times in the 2-mile and the mile, her cross-country, all her accolades,” Heridia said. “But then her qualities in the classroom, she’s a great student athlete. That’s our goal at IUN, to have a great product on the field but also have someone in the classroom who gets it done.”
The RedHawks look to build not only with high school recruits, but also with past high school runners already on their campus. Heridia says there is already “great interest” in his upstart programs.
“We have a few regional qualifiers, a couple of state qualifiers that ran for local programs, so we have a good foundation,” Heridia said. “As far as the high school recruits, a runner like Allison is only going to help.”
-WIUN Radio/RedHawk Sports Network Mr. Gregg Schwartz