Freshman Kelly Weckstein is the first woman athlete to receive the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Cross Country Rookie of the Week award since 2015 for varsity cross country.
With her fourth-place finish at New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Championships in Galloway, New Jersey and an eighth place overall finish, she helped the Red Hawks achieve victory on Sept. 22. With a 25:40.44 time on a 6k course with 107 other runners, Weckstein has proven that she is an athlete to look out for this season of cross country.
Weckstein, an animation and illustration major, is from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, where she also ran cross country in high school. She describes how the dynamics of joining a college team versus participating on a high school team are similar yet very different.
Regarding the atmosphere on campus, she has only participated in a few events held on campus and is more focused on schoolwork and her training.
Though her decision to join Montclair State University’s team was very last-minute, she is thoroughly happy to be around people who share the same interests as her and holds the same positive attitude toward the events.
“Ever since starting college, I realize how much I really like running,” Weckstein said. “During the races, I’m never tired. I’m never thinking negative things. I’m always really positive, so I guess that helps with my times.”
She is humble and praises her teammates for their hard work. Being a newer part of the team, Weckstein has proven her work ethic and good sportsmanship to her coaches and teammates alike. Showing her dedication and hard work on and off the track, Weckstein is admired by her teammate Sylvia Zawistowska.
“She never gives up no matter how hard the workout is,” Zawistowska said. “She amazes me everyday at practice because she makes running look so easy.”
Junior business major and team captain Sami Miller has nothing but high praise for Weckstein as well.
“Since Kelly is only a freshman, we haven’t known her very long but she definitely has impacted our team greatly,” Miller said. “On the course, she has helped the team place better at races, but off the track she has a great attitude and is always working hard.”
Well-loved by her teammates, Weckstein has proven to be a great athlete and student overall.
“For me, it’s pretty motivating and makes me want to work harder so I think that helps the team as well,” Miller said.
Weckstein has not only impressed her team and the conference but her coaches as well. Coach John Brennan describes the team as a little family and says Weckstein is a nice person on and off the track.
“She’s established herself as our best runner which is great for her,” Brennan said. “For this race, her time, she was competing against other NJAC runners, so in a sense this race was a break-out race for her.”
With her first season over, Weckstein has shown that she is someone to look out for on the women’s cross country team here at Montclair State.