No, Natalie Goering, wasn’t dreaming about that “surreal” news she received at halftime of the Feb. 16 USD men’s basketball game. It was real.
“The morning after I won, when I woke up, my roommate had left a Post-It that said ‘if you thought you were dreaming, no, you really did win the Prius,’” the USD freshman recalled.
Goering, a business student, was still sporting an ear-to-ear smile Wednesday, days after winning a USD Athletics drawing for a 2011 Toyota Prius. She was one of 500 to enter the drawing, which began at freshman orientation in August. Goering said she filled out an entry form at the Alcalá Bazaar in September.
Entries were collected until earlier this month. Last Thursday, seven finalists were announced during the USD-Portland basketball game. Since finalists had to be present to win, Goering had to work a little harder to get to the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The game, which started at 5:30 p.m., conflicted with her Logic class. She was in class when her phone was flooded with calls and texts from friends saying her name had been called.
“I asked if I could leave class to go,” she said. “I got there just in time.”
Even as a finalist, she said she still felt extremely lucky to be among the chosen few. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m among a group of people and someone’s going to win a car.”
But when she picked a balloon, hers had a picture of the Prius, meaning she’d won.
“I screamed and fell to my knees. I didn’t know what to do. One of my friends is on the USD Spirit Team and she was there to help me up and to celebrate with me.”
Winning the car, specifically a hybrid, fuel-efficient Prius, is just what Goering had hoped.
“I hate to pay for gas, it’s ridiculous,” she said. “I’ve always wanted a Prius. I’m so excited. I’m so happy.”
Goering said she plans to sell her current car, a 2006 Acura with 75,000 miles on it that had been given to her by grandfather.
This is the third year that USD Athletics and the San Diego Toyota Dealers Association have partnered on the Prius giveaway.
— Ryan T. Blystone