Since Haley Yost took over as Northwestern's No. 1 runner three years ago, the Tigers have won three straight league titles and made three straigh trip to the state meet.

Yost shared the top spot on the Tiger cross country as a freshman, and has led the team ever since.

She earned individual and team accolades while helping to make Northwestern a perennial cross country powerhouse.

Over the next four years, she will attempt to do it all over again at the next level.

Yost signed a letter of intent Thursday to Eastern Kentucky University where she will run on the Colonels cross country and track teams.

"I think I can eventually be one of the top ones on the team and help carry my team like I did here, except on a bigger level," she said. "That's my goal."

In her four years at Northwestern, the girls cross country team went 100-4 while earning three regular season Colonial League titles, three league meet titles, two District 11 Class AA team championships.

She helped the Tigers finish fourth at states last year as Yost took fourth place individually. She placed in the top five at leagues and districts in all four years of high school, including two runner-up finishes as a sophomore and senior.

Her goal is to break into Eastern Kentucky's line up next fall and then to evolve into one of the top runners in the Ohio Valley Conference and the NCAA over her four years.

"If she stays healthy," said Northwestern cross country coach Chris Stitzel. "I have no doubt she'll do well at the next level.

"I think she knows how to take care of herself. She really eats well and watches what she puts in her body. The way she trains and her work ethic will get her to the next level."

Yost chose Eastern Kentucky over College of Charleston, Elon, Campbell, Navy and North Florida.

"I chose Eastern Kentucky because it seemed like a good fit, as a school as well as the coach and the team," she said. "I like the fact the program is up and coming. The girls are getting to be as good as the guys team. The guys team just finished 15th at nationals. The coach seemed really enthusiastic about my future and me coming to the team."

Stitzel has sent three runners to Division I colleges over the last 10 years. Dana Stellar (Lehigh University) was the first. Lindsay Kerr (Wake Forest) was the second. All three were great runners and great team leaders. He said will miss Yost not only for her performances, but also for the way she helped lead the team.

"When she was on our training runs, she would push the other girls and help them get better," he said. "When we go to a meet she gives them a nice pep talk. She'll give letters to them. For districts and states they put notes on each other's lockers for inspiration. The girls really looked up to her as a sister.