Running a 10-kilometer race is an accomplishment. Running them competitively is a special achievement. Running competitively while sporting a 3.7 grade point average is a testament to efficiency.
The members of the Fairleigh Dickinson University women’s cross country team know something about efficiency, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The seven members of the team had their efforts commended during the National Girls and Women in Sports Day at Seton Hall University. The women were honored because they achieved the highest cumulative GPA for any women’s athletic team, at all universities and in all divisions, in the state of New Jersey for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Among those honored were current team captains and seniors Jaclyn Coseri and Gabby Michalak, as well as Allie Yecco, Lindsay Messina, Lindsay Grettner, Lauren Kannenberg and Natalie Zaremba.
“I think that what sets our team apart from others, academically, is that we often place a great emphasis on the importance of exceptional grades and encourage each other to ask for help or advice whenever we may be doubtful,” said Coseri. “What also heavily contributes to our own academic success were our past athletes who truly led by example.”
“Cross country athletes are a different breed,” said the Lady Devils Head Coach Dante Fedeli, who also serves as the head coach for the men’s cross country team and the softball team. “The true cross country runner is very, very disciplined and is also concerned with time management.”
Proper time management skills are undoubtedly necessary when trying to keep one’s pace in a long race, as well as in the long-winded race that is otherwise known as a college academic year.
The 2009-2010 team’s concern with time management is one of the driving forces behind their 3.66 average cumulative GPA.
After just completing his seventh season as the girls’ head coach, Fedeli was candid in discussing his team’s success.
“Out of any group I had, this is the group that didn’t surprise me,” said Fedeli.
Fedeli also remains reticent to take any credit for the team’s efforts.
“The only credit I’ll take is for asking them to keep up with their studies,” said Fedeli.
The hard-working attitude doesn’t stop during the women’s time at FDU.
Zaremba, who graduated in only three years, is currently attending graduate school at Pace University. Yecco and Grettner are attending graduate school at FDU.
“They know that keeping up with their studies is an important part of college,” said Fedeli. “Especially at the Division III level, where the only scholarships that are made available are academic.”
“Our team mentality and physical endurance that we must maintain throughout the season is comparable to what we experience in the classroom.” Coseri said. “It’s similar to running a marathon versus a sprint; it's always mind over matter and having the dedication, focus and drive enough to finish, and finish strong.”
Whether it’s in the classroom or during a race, the members of the FDU women’s cross country team realize that being efficient is key.