St. Mary's College of California is roughly 2,800 miles from Monticello High School. But to MHS senior lacrosse player Colleen O'Connor, that's no big deal.
On Thursday morning, the Mustangs held a ceremony honoring O'Connor on her decision to play college lacrosse at St. Mary's.
O'Connor, who played defense, said she was interested in about a dozen Division I programs early in the recruiting process. But a visit to St. Mary's in 2012 sealed the deal for the Gaels.
"When I first met the team they were all extremely nice," she explained. "And I can tell it was just a really friendly atmosphere and that what I want. It's really important for me."
O'Connor began her prep career at Covenant, where she earned a starting spot as a freshman. She's also been a member of the STORM club team since 2010, and was recently named to the Storm Elite team, which is made up of the best players in the program.
St. Mary's is a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, which includes schools like Stanford, USC, and California in women's lacrosse. The Gaels went 4-9 last season.
O'Connor says her initial goal upon joining her new program is simple -- get better.
"To really have a lot of competition," she said, "and to really improver as a player and a team."