Stocker providing veteran leadership to Cross Country

Carolyn Stocker is the fourth-year captain of the women’s cross-country team this fall. She’s aware that, on a team of 19 girls with eight freshmen, they might not be the fastest. Even if they are not the best team in America East, Stocker has a lot of faith in the younger runners on her team.

“I’m looking to be the leader, helping them grow,” Stocker said. A lot of those girls have potential.”

Along with her mother and father, Stocker cited Lauren Fleshman, the U.S. 5,000-meter champion in 2006 and 2010 and Kara Goucher, the two-time Olympic athlete, as inspirations in her running career.

“Running doesn’t define them. There’s more to them,” Stocker said. “You know, like family. They’re people who enjoy life.”

Without a lot of other senior leadership on the team, Stocker has led the team on the course as well as off. In the first meet of the year, Stocker was the first Black Bear to cross the line at eighth overall with a 5-km race time of 19:45. Last weekend at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Invitational meet, Stocker led the Black Bears with a 32nd overall finish with a time of 18:34.

Stocker, a Westfield, Mass. native, credits her early interest in running to her family. She grew up in a running family. She said they often, playfully, raced each other. She recalled just racing from one tree to the next. For much of her early life she was passionate about soccer more than anything. It wasn’t until her sophomore year in high school that she began to run competitively and take running seriously.

Stocker, a nutrition student with a minor in sustainable food systems, seeks to attend graduate school after finishing at the University of Maine this Spring. She is currently looking at schools in Portland, Or. She said she is intrigued by both the schools and the area, which is noted for its track and field tradition and professionally funded Nike Oregon Track Club Elite.

She is familiar with dealing with challenges, such as vocal cord issues have caused difficulty in her breathing, and at times, hindered her running. Despite this, she is looking forward to the rest of the season and remains optimistic.


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