WHITEFISH — Norah Schmidt has been an unstoppable force as a goalkeeper for the Whitefish Bulldogs the past three years. Now, after winning a state championship in her senior season, she is committed to take her talents to the NCAA Division I level at Gonzaga University.
"Gonzaga was, well is, my dream school, and it's kind of one of those situations where it's like not everyone gets into their dream school," said Schmidt. "And I got into mine and I'm so fortunate, like I worked hard for it, but I'm very lucky. And I'm just so excited."
A soccer player her whole life, Schmidt has faced some adversity, but it’s all helped shape her into the player she has become today.
"I've been told no a lot just throughout my entire soccer career," said Schmidt. "Teams, I'd show up, I’d try out and they're like, ‘You're great, you're awesome, probably one of the best we've seen, but you're just not from California, so it's a no.' And I was like, OK, you know, I'm gonna go somewhere that they value me."
And that feeling of being valued was discovered at Gonzaga when the star goalkeeper attended a college ID camp before heading into her junior year.
"Right away I knew that I had to go to Gonzaga, no matter what, like grades and stuff, I'd figure everything out and I'd go to Gonzaga," said Schmidt. "It was this gut feeling that I had to go there, no matter what, I had to play for Gonzaga."
And now Schmidt has accomplished the rare feat of being a Montanan to play soccer at the DI level.
"One of my biggest things that I just wanted to kind of prove that it's like there (are) other colleges out there that you can make," said Schmidt.
"And especially to the younger generation of soccer players here in Whitefish, Montana, because I mean, a lot of them just see, oh, it's high school and that's it. And from the very start I was always like, nope, there's more. I want more and I know I can go for more."
And more is exactly what Schmidt will be getting as she walks off into the sunset a Whitefish state champion and stays a Bulldog as she begins her collegiate career at Gonzaga.