Sacred Heart University graduate student Angela Kaiser was named the Northeast Conference (NEC) Athlete of the Week. This came after she placed first in the Fall Foliage Invitational where she set a personal record of 18 minutes and 13 seconds on Sunday, Oct 15.
For Kaiser, her passion for cross country started in middle school when she joined her school’s track team. Growing up she had played other sports but soon realized where her real passion was.
“I noticed pretty fast that running was something I did well in, so I continued to do track throughout middle school, and by 8th grade, I had dropped soccer, basketball, and swim to just focus on running,” said Kaiser
As a member of both track and field and cross country, winning this award in cross country was a nice moment for her, as she was able to put previous cross-country struggles in the past and show her growth in the sport.
“Winning NEC Athlete of the Week means a lot to me because cross country is always the season I’ve struggled with the most, so finally having a big breakthrough race and getting recognized for it means a lot,” said Kaiser.
To continue playing at this level, she understands she will need to work hard, but she also knows the best ability is availability.
“To stay at this level the plan is to continue to work hard but stay smart as well, I’ve been hurt a lot so making sure to know when to push through something and when to back off will be important to stay injury-free,” said Kaiser.
Kaiser has been here for six years and with that experience comes moments of highs and lows. She hopes to use her experience to help other team members.
“I’m able to help younger athletes on the team with things they may be struggling with in school or the sport since I’ve been through it too,” said Kaiser.
Junior Kelly Parker, a teammate of Kaiser credits her for the help and knowledge that she is willing to give to her teammates.
“I always viewed Angela as one of the team leaders since my freshman year. I have looked up to her and have often asked her for advice before races or with struggles I am experiencing. I think everyone has benefitted from Angela’s leadership on the team,” said Parker.
Being a Division I athlete is no easy task, but Kaiser credits the people around her for helping make it a little easier to manage.
“Balancing school, work, social life, and cross country is a lot, but professors, coaches, managers, and friends are understanding of the demands which makes it all a little easier to manage but still a very busy life,” said Kaiser.
With the announcement that Sacred Heart is moving to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and this being Kaiser’s final year, she understands what it would mean to win the conference championship.
“The team is looking good and running strong which puts us in the running to win. It is Sacred Heart’s last NEC championship since they are switching conferences and my last XC (cross country) conference meet so winning the team title would be extra special,” said Kaiser.
The women’s cross-country team fell to Stony Brook University on Saturday, Oct. 28. They travel to Bronx, NY for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Northeast Regional Cross-Country Championships on Friday, November 10.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.