Perry senior Leah King on Sunday announced her commitment to continue her education and athletic career at the University of Cincinnati.
King, who set state meet records in winning the 100 and 300-meter hurdles at the state track meet last spring, chose Cincinnati after also considering Michigan, Ball State, Akron, Grand Valley State, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State and Ohio State.
“I’m extremely excited to start the next chapter of my life at Cincinnati,” King said. “The team, coaches, atmosphere and the university itself is flat out amazing. I know this place is the fit for me. When I took my visit I instantly had that feel, a feel you can’t really describe but you just think to yourself, ‘This is it.’”
A three-time state qualifier, King placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles as a freshman. She won the state title in the 100-meter hurdles, placed third in the 4×100-meter relay and also qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore.
In winning the state title in both the 100 and 300-meter hurdles last season, King set the state meet record in both events.
She expects to run the short hurdles, sprints and possibly the 400-meter hurdles in college.
“I think I will be a great fit as a hurdler in their program,” King said. “I can’t wait to see how well my future teammates will push me to become better.”
Cincinnati assistant coach Nadine Faustine-Parker began following King during the 2017 season. King’s former teammate, Nicholas Lauria, committed to the Bearcats that year, which helped King learn more about the program.
The Bearcats increased their interest in King following last spring’s state meet.
“Cincinnati’s track program first came to my attention when one of my Perry teammates committed there,” King said. “Also, one of my family friends is a Cincinnati alumnus and has said nothing but great things about the school. After both races this year at Jesse Owens, my journey with Cincinnati took off.”
King visited the school and found it to be a perfect fit.
“I was instantly hooked on UC when I realized not only is it a great fit for me, but everyone acts as a family,” she said. “No one on the team will let you fail and everyone is there to push one another past their limits. The campus and city area is beautiful and I know once I get down there to start my freshman year it will instantly become a second home to me.”
Before that happens, King has some unfinished business as she hopes to break her own state records this spring.
“In my final high school season, I hope to have a record-breaking season,” she said. “I hope to win the 60-meter hurdles indoor and keep my two state titles in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Not only do I plan to keep my two state titles, but ultimately my goal is to break my Division II records as well as the state records.”