Ashley Stump is used to big-time competition in cross country and track and field.
La Salle University is counting on that.
The Central Cambria senior standout in cross country and track and field signed a Division I letter-of-intent on Monday at the high school to compete for the Explorers in the Atlantic 10 this fall.
"This is a good fit for her both running-wise and academic-wise. Being her guidance counselor, I am super excited for her," Central Cambria coach Randy Wilson said. "It's just awesome that all her hard work and dedication has paid off."
Stump finished in the top 25 at the District 6 Class AA cross country championships last fall and qualified, along with her Central Cambria teammates, for the state meet.
During the past winter indoor track and field season, she finished fourth in the 800-meter run at the Tri-State Track and Field Coaches Association championship meet. She is currently running track in the spring, where she qualified for states last year.
"There were a couple of other schools on her radar, but she was on their radar and they sought her out," Wilson said.
Stump had three schools from which to pick with East Stroudsburg and Misericordia being the other two.
"It was a really tough situation for me,'' Stump said. "I have been going over these three schools the past couple of months. I just liked the [La Salle] campus better, the team better. I like their program better. It really stuck out to me more than the other schools."
Stump said she believes she will make the traveling team for cross country and also feels she should be able to run with the track and field program. Running for Wilson the past four years is something that she feels has gotten her ready for the collegiate life.
"With him being dedicated and serious, and that he actually is there running with us, it helped us do better," she said. "Even on tough days, he pushed us harder. He got us to push through it, and I think that really prepared me."
La Salle coach Charles Topey, who coaches both cross country and track, reminds Stump a lot of her high school mentor.
"He is very dedicated and takes it seriously, but yet he makes it fun. When it's time to be serious, he is serious but he makes sure there is time for fun, too," Stump said.
Stump will major in speech pathology, which is one of the reasons why she chose La Salle.
"She is an incredibly mature student, and she made a very mature decision," Wilson said. "You give up a lot of little things when you do this, things your friends do, but then you go and get a scholarship to La Salle, that is an amazing thing."