ATASCADERO — Tuesday afternoon in front of the Atascadero high school athletic office senior cross country and track runner Claire Livengood signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her athletic and scholastic career at the University of California Irvine.
“When I was trying to decide where to apply for colleges I went more the academic route,” Livengood said. “Because I want to become a biomedical engineer and it is a pretty selective field as far as which colleges to go to. First, I went for academics and then I talked to those coaches and figured out where I could run for them and where I could be placed so that is how I decided on UC Irvine.”
Livengood has been a star on both the track and cross country teams while at Atascadero but has excelled even further in the classroom. The distance specialist currently sits around a 4.4 grade point average and is on track to be the 2019 salutatorian even while playing two sports.
The future Anteater has been a consistent and solid contributor for all four years she has been an athlete earning all-league all four years in cross country including being a key contributor in Atascadero’s first-ever trip to the CIF State Cross Country Championships her freshman year.
“When Claire came in as a freshman, that was the first year that Atascadero High School had ever been to a state championship as a team,” Atascadero cross country head coach Roger Warnes said. “Claire was just a real catalyst coming in as a freshman that helped push us over the edge, which was fantastic. As a person she is an amazing student, she is an amazing young lady of character and as an athlete just a joy to work with on a daily basis. She is one of the sweetest young ladies you could ever meet and a fantastic runner.”
Atascadero finished in 10th in 2015 but Livengood returned to state this year as she qualified as an individual in the CIF Central Section. Unfortunately, her senior track season was cut short this year due to a foot injury but still posted her fastest 3200-meters time at the Atascadero Memorial meet in February with a time of 11 minutes and 44.50 seconds. The senior standout’s fastest 1600-meters came in her junior season at the PAC 8 championships where she placed third overall with a time of 5:18.30.
On top of running for the Anteaters, Livengood will also have the opportunity to participate in UC Irvine's honor program.
“I am excited to be able to run for them but I am really excited that I get to be in their honors program too,” she said. “So I get to do some research in that area, it is just a really cool experience that I will be able to have.”