Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?
Because of the nature of the school, we really focus on intellectual student-athletes. A student failing classes is no use to us here and so we look for athletes that are strong academic candidates first. We want students that love learning, excel in the classroom and have a passion to learn about the sport as well. After that, I think the most important thing you can find in an athlete is personal responsibility (i.e., you’re not late because the bus was late, you’re late because you chose not to take an earlier bus) and a strong work ethic. Very few athletes actually have the ability to work their bodies to failure. When you find one, you have to be really careful with them, but you know they will do great things.
Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?
We have a senior on the team right now who came out of high school running around 20:30 for a 5k (for Cross Country). She was injury prone, low mileage and had been a middle of the pack type of athlete in HS. She was a solid, respectable runner but she wasn’t running anything that was going to make a coaches eyes pop out. She did have those qualities I mentioned above (passion for learning, great in the classroom, personal responsibility, and an outstanding work ethic). Over the course of 4 years she’s become a phenomenal runner. She raced at Nationals this year; she owns the indoor 5k school record (18:05) and is poised to set the outdoor school record this spring. She’s a completely different athlete than she was 4 years ago. She’s been great to work with, but I can tell her progression isn’t over. There’s no question she’ll be setting PRs long after she graduates from Bryn Mawr.