Sometimes in sports, success doesn’t always come after one try. For the first time in her four years as a member of the Keene State College cross country team, senior Cara Colotti made it to the national championship.
After finishing eighteenth overall out of 87 women at the Little East Conference Championships in Keene, Colotti found herself headed for the NCAA Division Three New England Regionals held at Connecticut College.
Colotti placed 148 out of 390 at New England Regionals, which qualified her for the division three national championships held in Winneconne, Wisconsin. The KSC women qualified for the national championships for the first time as a team in nine years. At nationals, the women placed twenty-second out of 32 schools, while Colotti placed 274 out of 280 runners.
Regardless of time or position, Colotti has much to be proud of as she finishes up her cross country career at KSC. Her senior year was certainly her most successful, according to Colotti. In years past, she has never reached the regionals stage in cross country, let alone nationals.
“Coming in my freshman year, I never even thought I would make it to regionals,” Colotti said. “I have improved my time by over two minutes since I came here [to Keene State].”
Cara isn’t the only one noticing the improvements in her performance. Fellow cross country runner and Colotti’s roommate Molly Schaefer has known Cara since they were both first-year students, and they have lived together since their sophomore year.
“Cara has always been really committed,” Schaefer said. Schaefer continued, “She is just a very talented runner and it was really exciting to see her able to really improve.”
Colotti said that seeing the improvement in her results is rewarding after the work she has put in over the past few years. When asked what had changed this year since years past, Colotti made it clear she wanted to give her all.
“Since this was my last year, I just decided that I was going to leave it all out there when I was running. I didn’t hold back, I took some chances,” Colotti said.
Interim Head Coach of the women’s cross country team Tom Pickering didn’t get the chance to coach Cara until this season, due to the timing of his hiring in 2014, but said he is still proud of what she accomplished this season.
“I didn’t really know very much about her prior to the preseason when they (the runners) came in this fall. And right away, I was struck by her personality, she’s very outgoing and has a great, positive attitude all the time. But I was also struck by her work ethic,” Pickering said.
Schaefer said that Colotti’s story is certainly an inspiring one, noting that there are numbers and statistics indicating the improvements she has made over the years. One of the most notable would be the shaving of two minutes off of Colotti’s time since she began running at Keene State.
Pickering put it best while discussing Colotti’s work ethic.
“She clearly had goals of being much better this season than in the past,” Pickering said.
Crae can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org