Over the past week, it became clear which college West Springfield’s Caroline Alcorta would run for at the next level.

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

The longer she thought about it, the more the University of North Carolina stood out. On Thursday, Alcorta announced her verbal commitment to the Tar Heels on her personal twitter account.

She’ll sign a letter of intent in February.

“It felt right,” Alcorta said about an hour and a half before the Virginia 6A state cross-country race in The Plains. “It was a combination of everything. I don’t really have a specific reason. It was just the right fit.”

Alcorta believes the UNC cross-country team is on the rise and that it’s a program she can potentially contribute to as a freshman. She wants to step in as one of the Tar Heels’ top seven, with hopes of being the team’s fifth runner.

“They’re going to build into something really good next year,” Alcorta said. “We’re in the process and could do something big at the national level. If I could help in any way — that was one thing I wanted to look for in a college, to know I could help somewhere.”

Alcorta visited the North Carolina campus a couple of months ago and said she enjoyed the college-town feel Chapel Hill offers.

She chose the Tar Heels over Virginia and Georgetown. In addition to cross-country, Alcorta will run distance events with North Carolina’s track & field team.

Alcorta has enjoyed one of the best cross-country seasons in the metro area. Over the past two weeks, she’s won conference and region championships, becoming the third-best performer on the historical Burke Lake course (16 minutes 31 seconds) in the process.

Later Friday morning, Alcorta will vie for her first VHSL state championship. She finished eighth as a sophomore in 2011 and second as a junior a season ago.

The VHSL 6A girls’ state meet is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

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