Team: Women’s track and field
Hometown: Natick, Mass.
Major: Studio Art and Biology
Snack bar order: Falafel wrap
What is your sports background? Why track?
My mom did track, so as soon as I could do track, I started doing it. She was a hurdler and a high jumper, and that’s what I got into at first in high school. My freshman and sophomore years, I did the short hurdles – which are 55 meters – and also high jump. And I did cross country my junior year of high school, so I was like, “Hey, this means I can do any distance I want now!” [Laughs]. After cross country, I ended up transitioning to the 400m hurdles, which is my main event now in college. I played soccer earlier in high school too, but I liked the community of the track and cross country teams better, so that’s kind of where it began.
Do you like the 400m or the 400m hurdles more?
The hurdles more, for sure. I do the open 400m and the 4×400 indoor because they don’t have 400m hurdles [indoors], since it’s a 200-meter track versus a 400-meter track [outdoors]. It would be terribly dangerous to have the 400m hurdles inside. But I like that in the 400m hurdles, you literally only have to think of the next hurdle – it’s like a metaphor for life. [Laughs]. My mentality during the race is like, “Okay, I just have to get to this next hurdle. Okay, next hurdle. Okay, next hurdle.” And then by that time, I’m like, “Okay, now I have to finish.” It takes me out of my own head and the pain of running a 400m!
I liked the option of doing a sport and going abroad. That was really appealing to me, even though I never ended up going abroad, but that’s okay. I liked the small classes and the rural surroundings of [the College] because I get overwhelmed easily in cities. The coach and the team were also really welcoming, and I was like, “This is a place I can really see myself going.” And Williams isn’t too far away from home, but it’s not too close, meaning I can go home when I need to.
What’s your relationship with Coach Hoey like?
It’s good! It’s evolved over the years, since it was only his second year [here] when I was a freshman. I feel like it’s always a process getting to know your coach – it’s a back-and-forth relationship, not just him telling you what to do. That’s important because sometimes you need to change your training if it’s not working for you, so I feel like our relationship has been really good. Now that I’m captain, we talk a lot more frequently about bigger issues on our team and how we can change the culture in different ways. It’s very mutually responsive between us.
You have four captains on the team. Can you talk about that dynamic?
It’s also good! We have two sprint/power captains and two distance captains, and I think that’s really important because you can’t really get around the divide between the sprint/power and the distance teams, since our training is pretty separate. I think we all have the right ideas about what kind of values we want to cultivate, but we also have diverse perspectives and can add things to conversations that one of us maybe wouldn’t have thought about. We’re really good at bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s a very productive and friendly type of relationship where we give each other feedback.
How do you lead such a large team?
It’s overwhelming, but since we have four women’s captains and five men’s captains, and we all collaborate on things, I think we are able to reach most of the athletes. I think something that’s important with track is that there are leaders on the team who aren’t necessarily captains. They can be other seniors or even juniors or sophomores who have been there for a year or two. So that’s partly what helps us reach the whole team.
In these four years, how do you think you’ve developed as an athlete?
I think I’ve learned to trust the process of training a lot better. In the transition from high school to college, the training was a lot different, and I didn’t see a ton of improvement in my performance my freshman year. But over the last three years, I’ve realized that [the training] is actually helpful, and I just need to relax and lean into it instead of worrying that it isn’t the right thing for me. I have also valued teammates and the relationships between teammates a lot more than just my own performance. The team community here is very close-knit compared to what I had in high school.
You went to Nationals your sophomore and junior years. Can you talk about those experiences?
Yeah, that was really cool. I went on the distance medley relay my sophomore year and then the 4×400 last year. Now, I’m going on the 4×400 again this year. Last year was interesting because I had been injured the whole season, and I wasn’t running much, but there were two relays that qualified – the distance medley relay and the 4×400 – and there was one 400m runner who ran on both of them, so they needed somebody to fill a spot. Coach Hoey was like, “Do you want to come to Nationals and run on one of these relays?” And I was like, “Sure!” But this year is kind of different because I’ve been training more consistently, and I feel like I really earned my spot at Nationals. So, it’s different in that way, but it’s still really exciting. And you get free jackets. [Laughs].
What are your goals for the outdoor season?
For outdoor, I’m hoping I can continue to train consistently and keep my injuries under control. I also hope to continue to get to know everyone on the team better!
What are you doing after you graduate?
I’m going to do a teaching fellowship at Riverdale Country School, an independent day school in the Bronx. They wanted someone for visual arts. I’m excited about that because I really love doing art and teaching.