Kayla Hawley Commits to UWGB for Cross Country

Olivia Vanden Elzen, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

NDA senior Kayla Hawley recently committed to run Cross Country for the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

For as long as she can remember, Hawley began her running career by participating in various road races with her family.

“Both of my parents enjoy running so they always used to sign our whole family up for different road races. I didn’t really like running at the time, so I usually ended up walking most of the races. Then in middle school, my parents and friends convinced me to run track, and that is when I started to run somewhat competitively for the first time,” Hawley said.

Her middle school, Resurrection Catholic School (now Father Allouez Catholic School), did not have a cross country team, so she decided to run on the track team. As she moved onto high school, Hawley joined the cross country team.

“I mostly joined the team because I heard it was a good way to meet new people, and it was a very social sport. But it turns out I was actually a pretty decent runner,” said Hawley.

Her freshman year she received Cross Country Honorable Mention, Cross Country MVP, and was part of NDA’s state qualifying team.

Hawley then began training to be more competitive. She ran everyday, which included a variety of workout days such as running for an hour on the UWGB and Mount Bay trails along with intervals.

“I least enjoy the intervals and hard workouts. But though they are hard, without them the sport would not be as meaningful as you would not get to see your hard work pay off,” Hawley said.

Though the workouts are challenging, Hawley explains that the pros of the sport surpass the cons.

“I most enjoy the team bonding of the sport. Being with the girls and running with them everyday makes us really close and they are all my best friends. We all run our hearts out for each other which makes ‘gross’ cross country so special and meaningful to me,’ she said.

Due to her hard work and dedication, Hawley competed individually at state as a sophomore, made Second Team All-Conference her sophomore and junior year, and returned back to state for her final appearance her senior year.

She explained that not only did cross country help her to become a better athlete, but that it also taught her countless life lessons that have shaped her into an overall better person.

“Cross Country is such a mental sport. It is so easy to think of the negatives and to let go when you are not doing well, if someone passes you, or if the course is hard. It is also hard to tell yourself you are good where you are at. You can always run better; you can always do better at everything you do. I always try my best to stay positive and to always do better which is what has made me successful,” said Hawley.

As she moves on from NDA and heads to UWGB, “the perfect college” for her academically and for running, Hawley is most looking forward to her next season with her new coaches and teammates, but will always remember her unforgettable experience with NDA Cross Country.