October 3, 2012

Student Association Athlete of the Week: Daniela Czark

The Student Association and the Athletic Department are continuing the tradition of recognizing an outstanding student athlete from the campus community as “Athlete of the Week.” If you'd like to nominate a student-athlete, contact Chris Moskal at cmoskal@maill.smcvt.edu

Overcoming an injury is one of the toughest and most time-consuming processes an athlete must work through. The effects of being sidelined by an injury are amplified in cross country runners, where even a few days off can weaken several weeks' worth of intense speed, hill and strength workouts. It is during this inactive time of their season when an injured athlete learns the values of perseverance and patience. One cross country runner who has shown the strength of these values this season is junior Daniela Czark.

An Achilles tendon injury had Daniela sidelined most of last season, but she arrived to preseason camp this summer running stronger than ever. After a stellar spring training season, Daniela focused on her running form and overall speed during the summer, following a strict four-month training schedule made by Coach Molly Peters.

The progress made by Daniela has been witnessed in every race so far this season. Normally, a runner's 5K time would improve within a year by about 10-30 seconds. On September 15 at the Aldrich Invitational at Middlebury College, Daniela ran the course in 22:40, a difference of over two minutes from last season and almost two minutes faster than her freshman season.

As a freshman, Daniela would finish around the 16th spot of the team, however this year she has consistently improved her ranking. At the Middlebury race, she moved up seven spots, finishing in the team's Top 10. This past weekend in the sub varsity race at the New England Championships, she once again proved her strength and improvement, being the first Purple Knight to cross the finish line in an impressive time of 21:03, shattering her freshman season personal record of 24:14 by three minutes and 11 seconds.

The women's team has high respect for Daniela because of the care she shows towards the sport and to her teammates.

Co-captain Andi Nelson '13 praises, “It was evident to everyone that she was going to be strong right from the start. I also admire her every time I go to Alliot and snarf down chocolate banana bread while she is exerting her willpower to eat something healthy. Daniela is a great example of a runner who made a resounding commitment to cross country, and it has really paid off for her.”

Written by Jen Labrenz '13 - contact her at jlabrenz@mail.smcvt.edu

The Edmundite Catholic Liberal Arts College