The University of Colorado doesn't have a women's lacrosse coach yet, but the fledgling program that is scheduled to begin competition two years from this spring has its first player.

Tori Link, a midfielder and attacker for the state champion girls lacrosse team at Cherry Creek High School, made an unofficial visit to Boulder last week to check out the school her parents attended 30 years ago.

She came away impressed and fought off the urge to commit right away.

After taking a week to think it over, she called CU athletic director Mike Bohn and senior women's administrator Ceal Barry on Tuesday and informed them she will be a second-generation Buff, but the first of her kind.

Cherry Creek’s Tori Link is in girls lacrosse state championship game against Air Academy at Peter Barton Stadium on Wednesday. Cherry Creek won
Cherry Creek's Tori Link is in girls lacrosse state championship game against Air Academy at Peter Barton Stadium on Wednesday. Cherry Creek won 16-11. May 25, 2011. Hyoung Chang/ The Denver Post ( HYOUNG CHANG )

"I thought about it for a few days and I was like, 'How can I turn this down? I love Colorado. I've lived here my whole life.'" Link said. "Both my parents went to CU. So obviously they were selling the school. It was a really good decision. It was the right decision and I'm just happy I made it. I love CU and the fact that I can play lacrosse there is good. I'm just so excited."

Link not only goes into the historybooks as the first lacrosse prospect to receive a scholarship offer from CU and its first committed recruit, but also the first recruit in the history of the school in any sport to receive a four-year scholarship offer.

The NCAA recently approved legislation allowing schools to offer recruits in all sports multi-year scholarships.


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Before that, scholarship were good for one year and subject to review annually.

Women's lacrosse players typically receive partial scholarships with a total of 12 to split between a roster of 25 or more.

Link said CU's offer will cover her tuition all four years she is in Boulder.

While CU officials cannot speak publicly about individual recruits, Bohn confirmed the school recently extended its first multi-year scholarship offer to a women's lacrosse prospect.

Bohn, Barry and compliance director Julie Manning have been working together to recruit players to the program since the school formally announced on Feb. 1 that it will add the program as the 17th intercollegiate sport in the athletic department.

Link said the only uncertainty she had in the week she took to consider her decision was committing to a startup program that hasn't even hired a head coach, let alone assistant coaches yet.

"A coach means a lot to me because obviously I've been on plenty of teams and it makes a difference when you have a good coach," Link said. "The fact that I'm committing without a coach is a huge risk but it's something I'm willing to do because I love CU and I want to play there."

She said Bohn and Barry asked for her opinion on what qualities she would like them to seek in a head coach. Link said that meant a lot to her.

Link's father, Rob, attended Boulder High School where he was a star tight end. He began his college career at Nebraska, and after an injury ended his football playing days, he returned home and finished his degree at CU -- where he met his wife, Tori's mother Sharon.

"Obviously they're ecstatic," Link said of her parents reaction to her decision. "They're both Buffs. I'm the youngest of three. So they're so happy they get to see one of their kids go to CU."

Link said she was considering committing to Michigan in January when she first heard CU was adding the sport.

She said not long after that she heard from Bohn and Barry and received a scholarship offer, which totally changed her mind about her future.

She also had offers from Penn State, DU and Oregon, among others.

Link said she has been playing lacrosse since the second grade and is in her eighth season in the sport this spring. Her older brother, Ryan, is a senior on the Penn State men's lacrosse team this year.

"I love it. I live it, breathe it," Link said. "It's what I do all year round."

She also plays for the Team 180 club program in Denver, and one of her teammates from the club program, Ella Stapp, a center for the Mullen High School team, is also close to committing to the Buffs.

According to the lacrosse website Laxpower.com, the state of Colorado produced 30 girls lacrosse players for college programs in the most recent recruiting cycle.

At least 18 of them played for Team 180.

Link is an honor student at Cherry Creek. She said she hasn't decided what she will study in college. It's probably her next big decision.

Tuesday her only concern was celebrating her college choice. The high school junior was proud to be in position to be a part of history.

"Oh my gosh, it will hold a place in my heart for the rest of my life," Link said. " It will be something I tell my grandkids. It's so exciting. I can't believe it. I'm so honored."