Academic All Star: Samantha Heilman - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Academic All Star: Samantha Heilman

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Samantha Heilman always wanted to play college soccer.

"I've seen people move on and they love it, seen even people fail at the college level but I've always thought that it was awesome to see top athletes going to one college and getting to play together," Heilman says.

So after four years of hard work, she's gotten her wish: she'll be playing at Gonzaga University next year. And the process is a testament to the relationship between Richland High School and Gonzaga.

"We used to go to team camp at Gonzaga so that's when they first saw her," says RHS Head Coach Sara Elfering. "They liked what they saw, I agree obviously. It's their opinion that matters but it totally doesn't surprise me."

And it seems to be a perfect fit.

"It's a small community which I like because I like small class sizes so I can talk to teachers, that's important, GPA is important to me. Schooling's important to me," says Heilman. 

"Oh, and basketball! I love basketball so I'm excited to watch that."