Novato High’s Courtney Madson, one of the most renowned female athletes ever to come out of Novato, has signed a letter of intent to accept a partial scholarship to the University of Wyoming this fall.
Although she is ranked No. 1 nationally in her weight class in wrestling and preparing for the state wrestling championships next weekend, Madson plans to run distances for the track team and run cross country once she arrives in Laramie, Wyo.
“The people are great up there. Everybody’s really genuine,” she said. “I loved the whole atmosphere. I’m really excited.”
Madson’s father, Steve Madson, told Novato Patch of the signing of national letter of intent papers Thursday morning. Randy Cole, who coaches cross country and track at Wyoming, confirmed that official paperwork arrived from the Mountain West Conference office, making the scholarship official. She will receive nearly 70 percent of a full-ride when academic aid is mixed in with the partial athletic scholarship, Cole said. Tuition for out-of-state students is about $22,000.
Courtney Madson said her decision came down to Wyoming and Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. The trip she made to Laramie in early January sealed it.
“They have 360 days a year with sun because it’s either sunny or it’s snowing,” she said. “I love the snow. I’m not really a rain person. I think it’s going to be a great decision for me running-wise. It’s 7,220 feet, the highest school in the NCAA, and there are signs everywhere you go saying, ‘How is your oxygen level?’ So you can drop down for any race and instantly be running faster. I’m looking forward to it.”
Cole said Madson and coaching assistant Amanda Clower really hit it off during the January visit and that Wyoming is thrilled to have Madson committed.
"We think she's maybe under the radar and at the same time has a lot of upsides to her," he said. "She's a very good student and a very good athlete, and we think she'll be a great addition to the teams. To be honest, we when we get an athlete who wants to come up here, live in a small college town and live high in the Rocky Mountains, that an pretty important factor, too."
Madson is a four-time All-Marin County Athletic Leaguer in cross country and an MCAL and North Coast Section champion at 800 meters on the track. She is gearing up for her senior season in track as soon as she wraps up her wrestling career.
“Wrestling is really hard on your body, so I knew I wanted to run (in college),” she said. “After state, I’m really going to miss it because I’ve loved it.”
Madson’s cross country exploits include three appearances at the California State Championships. On the track, her best time in the 800 meters is 2 minutes, 18 seconds, and she has done 5:24 in the 1,600.
Novato High wrestling coach Eric Brielmaier said the Hornets will miss Madson’s presence next season. She is 24-0 this season at the 114-pound weight class and is a four-time North Coast Section champion. The state meet Feb. 25-26 in Lemoore will mark the first time the California Interscholastic Federation has sanctioned a state championship event in girls wrestling.
“She exemplifies what a student can be both on and off the mat,” he said. “She excels year-around and puts a lot of work in. Right after wrestling practice, she’s off doing her running. That level of commitment is few and far between at her age. She has set an example for her teammates no matter what sport she’s doing. She’s every coach’s dream.”
With a cumulative 3.67 grade-point average, Madson plans to try majoring in communications at Wyoming and focus on marketing or public relations. “My dream is to work for the Food Network,” she said.
As she wraps up her athletic career at Novato High, Madson is starting to reflect on what it’s been like being a Hornet. She is the senior class president right now and enjoyed spending time with her sister, Carissa, also a wrestling and running standout at the school.
“I love Novato. I think it’s a great place,” she said. “I love that I’ve gotten to be with my sister. We’re in leadership together and it’s been really cool.”
Brielmaier said Madson’s athletic legacy will rank among the best in school history.
“She’s one of the most successful athletes to come out of Marin County,” he said. “Being ranked No. 1 nationally at her weight class (in wrestling), that’s impressive. She’s putting Novato on the map in a wrestling sense. It’s remarkable to see her excel on the mat and realize that’s not even the path she’s choosing in college. That’s just amazing.”