Ben Vernon of Shelley High School signing letter of intent to CSI

Ben Vernon of Shelley High School, surrounded by parents and coaches, signs his letter of intent to attend College of Southern Idaho.

SHELLEY – It was an eventful day that will be a memory for the rest of his life for Shelley High School senior and cross country runner Ben Vernon, who signed a letter of intent to attend the College of Southern Idaho.

Vernon, who has been competing in cross country and track since he was a freshman at Shelley, accepted the offer of a preferred walk-on, meaning he will have to wait for a scholarship to become available in order to become a scholarship athlete at the school.

In the meantime, the near 4.0 student will be using his academic scholarships to attend the school.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Vernon said. “I have always wanted to find out if I had what it takes to be a collegiate runner and now I will be able to find out.”

Vernon has designs on taking classes that will allow him to pursue a degree toward physical therapy, with a minor in business.

“I want to have a business background for a couple of reasons,” Vernon said. “If I can make it through and become a physical therapist, the business minor will allow me to run my own shop and if the physical therapist thing doesn’t pan out, then I can always go into business in another field.”

Vernon also plans to continue his running for the remainder of the year at Shelley, participating in primarily the distance events, but hasn’t ruled out anything at this point.

“Part of what we have talked about at CSI is that I complete my eligibility here and then make the move to Twin Falls,” Vernon said. “They want me on campus sometime in the middle of August and they have already sent me some workouts to be doing until then. I am really excited for this opportunity and what it could bring to my life.”

The College of Southern Idaho has recruited a number of runners from Shelley High School, including the top runner from a year ago in Johnathon Frew and Amy White from the year before.

“I really like that fact that they work with you and have a lot of hands-on contact when it involves pushing you to make it to a Division I program,” Vernon said. “That is the ultimate goal and with the help of the coaches at CSI I am sure that I will make it to the next level.”