LYNNFIELD — Just two days after closing out her high school soccer with a heartbreaking overtime loss to Newburyport in the Division 3 North state tournament, Pioneer senior Kate Mitchell was putting the finishing touches on the start of the next exciting chapter or her life as a Boston College Eagle.
Mitchell made it official on Nov. 8 in front of family and friends at the high school, signing her National Letter of Intent to run cross country and track at BC.
Mitchell was the second Lynnfield student-athlete this year to commit to a Division 1 program, joining state champion diver Sabrina Bunar, who signed her Letter of Intent earlier that day to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mitchell said she had narrowed her list to Boston College, Dartmouth and Holy Cross and there were several factors she considered in choosing BC.
“Academically, Boston College has very prestigious academics, especially the Carroll School of Management, which I got accepted to,” she said. “Carroll is tops in the nation right now so, where I wanted to do business, that is one of the best places to be. Athletically, the track program is very, very good and the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) is such a good conference.”
That being said, Mitchell felt there a more compelling reason why she chose BC.
“One of the biggest things I looked for in a college was a sense of community in the school and school spirit,” she said. “Every time I stepped on the BC campus, I felt it, especially when I was on my official visit when I went to the BC-Notre Dame football game. Seeing the amount of school spirit was just unbelievable.”
Last May, Mitchell capped an incredible spring season with a fifth place finish in the Emerging Elites 800 at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Track and Field Championship at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. She ran the race in school record 2:12.52.
The race capped a whirlwind spring season in which she set a school record in the outdoor mile (5:08.17) with a win at the MSTCA Girls Invitational. She won the 800 at the CAL Championship meet in 2:19.28 and was named the CAL Baker Division Player of the Year. The following week, she won the Eastern Massachusetts Division 4 800 title in 2:15.11. In early June, she finished third at the All-States Championships in 2:13.11.
Mitchell was also the CAL Female Athlete of the Year for the indoor season. She placed third in the 1,000 in the Division 5 championship meet and sixth in the same event at the All-States meet.
Mitchell, who also owns the school indoor record in the 1,000, is treasurer of the National Honor Society, treasurer of the Senior Class and currently carries a course load that includes four Advanced Placement courses and one honors course.
Mitchell’s fondest high school memory was placing fourth in the freshman mile at the 2015 New Balance Outdoor Championships.
“Being part of the state final in soccer freshman year was really cool to be a part of, but the outdoor nationals was probably the best memory, the one I will remember most,” she said. “I was so, so nervous, but I remember my dad told me I was there for a reason and to calm down. I learned the most about myself as a runner to do what I did in that meet and gained so much from the experience.”
Mitchell said the recruiting process started sophomore year and that even as late as last spring, she wasn’t close to being able to narrow down the choices.
“My parents wanted me to start as early as possible to reduce the stress and to narrow down what I was looking for,” she said. “I reached out to a few coaches and met some of them to learn about their programs after July 1 of my junior year.”
By the time Mitchell graduates in June of 2018, she will have earned 12 varsity letters in all (8 in track and 4 in soccer), but she is anxious to start her collegiate career and see what new levels she will reach at BC.
“I’ve been running competitively for four years, but I am new to the sport and have a lot to learn,” she said. “College distances are the same as in high school so I expect to be running middle distance, but will run anything they want me to. I’m excited to be running cross country for the first time as that will be a new experience.”