JOSEPH — Joseph Charter School co-Valedictorian and 3,000m record-holder Ellyse Tingelstad will head to Caldwell, Idaho to attend the College of Idaho in the fall. There she’ll work towards a degree in law or pre-med or "something." “I’m not really sure what I'll major in at this point,” she said. “I have a pretty open mind.”

What she does know is that she’ll run. Tingelstad’s stellar track and academic records earned her athletic and academic scholarships that cover full-tuition for four years.

“I talked to numerous coaches from a lot of schools,” she said. “The College of Idaho stood out to me because their coaches were super personable and they made me feel like they cared about me as a person and student, not just an athlete. Plus the school has a super-small campus, but it’s really intense for academics. I’m excited for that kind of challenge.”

Founded in 1891, the College of Idaho, in Caldwell is the state's oldest private liberal arts college, with an enrollment of 1,000 students. The college has produced seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors and four NFL players. It also offers both pre-med and pre-law programs. And it engages students in a broad spectrum of learning. Students graduate with a major—and three minors.

Tinglelstad has one of the best careers ever for a Joseph Charter School distance runner — or any JCS track athlete, for that matter. She has won 1A state titles in the girls 1,500- and 3,000-meter races in 2018 and 2019, successfully continuing the tradition of distance domination started by her older sister, Isabelle. Ellyse was poised to clinch the titles again this year. She holds the school record in the 3,000, set previously by Isabelle. In 2019 she finished just 0.13 seconds behind the school record in the 1,500, a mark she hoped to break this spring.

“Having the opportunity to continue my running was a big thing,” Tingelstad said. “I took a long time considering if I want to continue running or going the military route. Especially now that the season was taken away, I’m more thankful I chose to run.”

Her competitive drive caught the attention of C of I head coach Austin Basterrechea.

“One of the things that stuck out to us the most about Elly is that she doesn’t lose, especially on the track,” he said. “Looking over her 1,500 and 3K races for the past few seasons it is very apparent that she is a fierce competitor. Once we began talking with Elly and had her on campus, it seemed like a no-brainer that she would be a good fit.”

Tingelstad said she will be running both cross country (fall) and track (spring). Exactly which races she will focus on is not set, she said, and depends partly on her coaches and partly on how both cross county went and how training is going. “Making the transition to a new place and new program, you kind of try a few things to find your niche,” she said. “We’ll just see how it plays out.” That said, Tingelstad expects to continue in distance events.

The team, with about 25 men and women combined, was super-close knit and made her feel very much at home, Tingelstad said. They’ll be competing in the Cascade conference, which includes Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon Universities.

At a time when high school classes have been canceled, Tingelstad has already finished all requirements for graduation and moved beyond high school academics. This term, she is taking a college-level course online. And why not? Long ago she skipped a year of middle school, jumping from seventh to ninth grade, because she wasn’t being challenged in the classroom.

“I’m really excited to be moving to the next level,” she said. So are we all.

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