Aspen Abbott has been a key part of the Douglas track and cross country programs over the past four seasons.Today, she'll sign a letter of intent with Southern Oregon University, where she'll continue her athletic career at the next level this fall.She said the overall location of the Ashland, Ore., school was a large determining factor.“We went up for a visit and I really liked the area, I loved the school,” she said. “I got to ride my bike around a bit while we were there and I knew it was the place for me. “The area is really beautiful. I'd been to Ashland before and driven through Medford, but I'd never really been to the school.”Abbott said she was also talking with Boise State, University of Nevada and Chico State, but Southern Oregon ended up having the most complete package for her.Aside from an athletic scholarship, she was also accepted to the school's honors program (an exclusive class of 25 students). She'll receive an additional academic scholarship for that.She said after completing college she wants to complete certification to be a physical therapist.Abbott will run both cross country and track & field for the Raiders, although she's not sure yet what events she'll run in track. The course of both sports runs almost year-round in terms of competition as indoor track begins shortly after the conclusion of cross country season. The outdoor track season directly follows the indoor.At Douglas, Abbott has filled a variety of roles over her four-year varsity career, centering mostly in the middle distances, but also extending into the triple jump.She was a part of school-record-breaking squads in the 4x800 and distance medley and qualified for state with the 4x800 team last season.Last fall, she was a near lock for a berth at the state cross country championships before suffering an injury during the regional championship meet.In cross country, she qualified for state with the Lady Tigers team in 2011.Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.