Kaitlyn Arnold has successfully merged distance running and academics during her Alma College career.
Two-time Academic All-American Kaitlyn Arnold embodies the true definition of a student-athlete, succeeding in both aspects of her extraordinary college career.
A member of the Alma College women’s cross country and track and field teams, Kaitlyn was awarded the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship — only the 12th student-athlete from Alma College ever to receive the award.
She also has competed at two national Division III championships and received two Elite 90 awards — the first at the May 2016 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and the second at the November 2016 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. In order to be eligible for the NCAA Elite 90 Award, student-athletes must qualify for an NCAA Championship event and have the highest GPA among the competitors at the championship site.
Merging Distance Running and Academics
The integrative physiology and health science major with a 4.0 grade-point average says her approaches to running and academics are similar.
“Distance running is a very individualized sport,” she says. “You need to have the mindset and the drive to put in the workouts you are supposed to. This parallels studying, where you have goals for studying and a plan to achieve those goals. Both running and studying require the internal drive to put in the effort and get the work done.”
Her approach to academics and athletics has led her to a spot on the Dean’s List every semester as a student. She also has received the President’s Cup in each of her first three years. Her academic success has resulted in her recognition as a two-time Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
“I go into a class focused on learning material to the best of my ability,” she says. “I want to be able to tell you everything about it, how it works, why it’s important, and more importantly, be able to retain that information. For me, my goal is to give every class my 100 percent, and hopefully [my grade] turns out to be an A.”
Embracing Hard Work as Motivation for Success
Kaitlyn has succeeded in being the best in her sport.
She holds the Alma College records in cross country and track and field for distance running and has been recognized by the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association multiple times, earning All-MIAA First Team honors during the last three years in cross country as well as All-MIAA accolades last season in outdoor track and field. She hopes her success as a student-athlete can inspire other students.
“I want people to see my hard work and dedication,” she says. “I hope it inspires people, that having this level of success in both athletics and academics can be the norm. I really want people to not be satisfied where they are, so by me continuing to display that in academics and athletics, I hope that sticks with people and becomes what Alma College is about — putting your best into everything.”
Kaitlyn plans to pursue a Doctor of Optometry degree at the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University after graduation in April 2017.
Arnold’s career at Alma has been setting and reaching one goal after another, which provides motivation for her as she graduates.
“It’s easy to set goals, it’s hard achieving them,” she says. “This tells me that in the future, I can look back on these experiences and know I can achieve whatever I set my mind to.”
Watch this Student-Athlete Spotlight video as Kaitlyn reflects on her Alma career.