Northside Christian’s Katelyn Greenleaf, the most dominant girls distance runner in Pinellas County, committed to Alabama on Wednesday afternoon.
Initially, Greenleaf narrowed her choices of schools to Alabama and Florida in December and said she would wait until after the winter break to make her decision. She added Clemson and South Carolina to her list this month and visited both schools this past weekend.
She chose the Crimson Tide because of the cooler weather and the school’s proximity to home.
"I wanted to take those last two visits just to see if there was anything I was missing," Greenleaf said. "I just really like Alabama because it has a homey feel to it and the campus is close enough driving distance for my parents and my relatives in Georgia."
Since she started running in middle school at Northside Christian, Greenleaf has been a fixture at the state meet, placing in the top 10 for five straight seasons.
This past season was her best. At the St. Petersburg City meet, she broke her own record, finishing in 18 minutes, 31 seconds, a 23 second improvement despite battling strong gusts. At the Class A state meet, she took third in 18:33. It was the highest finish of her career.
She also has been named the Times' Pinellas County girls cross country runner of the year for four straight seasons.