September 28, 2005
I spoke yesterday with track alum Colleen Kelly C'04. She is living on Manhattan's upper west side and is now a graduate assistant helping to train runners at Columbia U. A psychology major, Colleen ran for the Hoyas during the 2005 indoor season after starting a graduate degree in liberal studies.
What a delightful young woman! I called her because I wanted to find out more about this accomplished Hoya who earlier this month was selected as the state winner (DC) for NCAA Woman of the Year Honors. This is no glamour pageant; the award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, and community leadership. Colleen is in good Georgetown company, following previous DC Woman of the Year winners Bowen Holden (2001) and Katrina deBoer (2000).
Daughter of double-Hoya and rowing alum Kevin Kelly C'76, M'80, Colleen grew up moving around the country with her military-doctor dad and family. Throughout her young life, she was a dancer: lessons, performances and all that. As an 8th grader, she whimsically decided to try her luck in a local area track meet. She won the one-mile run. It was a catalytic event that rearranged her life. She stopped dancing and began running, setting records and collecting accolades all the way through high school and college.
Coming from a small Catholic girls' school In Philadelphia (Mt. St. Joe's) with a not-so-stellar track program, Colleen was apprehensive about her chances of succeeding in a national level track program. She was recruited hard by Philadelphia-area colleges but was sold on Georgetown by the coaches and team members she met. According to Colleen, "I had come so far running in high school that I wanted to push myself and see how good I could become." Looking back, she knows her decision was the right one.
Complimenting her success on the track, Colleen was an academic all-star throughout her Georgetown career. Additionally, she developed into one of the leaders of the Georgetown Athlete Mentoring Enterprise (GAME), a service program that brings Hoya athletes to DC school children to speak, counsel and help them with homework.
So when they crown the winner of the NCAA award in late October, regardless of the selection, Colleen will know that she has already won a much greater prize: the self-confidence that kept growing in every race she ran from 8th grade forward. I look forward to meeting Colleen in person some day, because all of her running to date has prepared her for the biggest race of all, the rest of her life.
And I am certain she will be just as successful as in the past.