Carlow Cross Country Athlete Makes School History—after Switching Her Major and Her Sport.

Sierra VecchioEntering college can be a difficult adjustment, even when everything goes according to plan. But sometimes, even the best-laid plans change.

Junior Sierra Vecchio enrolled at Carlow as a nursing major and planned to play soccer. But the summer before her freshman year, she decided she was really interested in being a physician’s assistant. 

She decided to switch her major to biology.

She also decided not to play soccer her freshman year—so that she could really dive into her major and maybe graduate early. To stay in shape, Vecchio started running. A lot.

“I ran all around campus, all around Oakland…and I realized that I really enjoyed it!” she says. “And the cross country team girls told me I had good times.” 

So, in addition to switching her major, she switched her sport. To cross country, starting her sophomore year.

And she wound up making history.

Vecchio broke the school record in the 5K and the 6K, was named the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) Runner of the Week, and placed seventh at the KIAC Championship. She was the first runner in Carlow history to be a conference medalist and the first to be named First-Team All-Conference.

In her two seasons with the Celtics, she has seen tremendous growth in the program.

“We have a lot of new talented runners, and the dynamic is really good. It’s fun to be around them all,” she said. “The coaching staff has really helped us improve. I think in the upcoming years, the program will really take off. The incoming groups are continually better and better.”

Vecchio will graduate this year and is awaiting her acceptance to physician assistant school. Looking back on it, everything about her Carlow career was unexpected, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Carlow is so close knit,” she says. “It kind of feels like a family. The academics are great, and the small class sizes are wonderful. The professors always know you, and they are up to date with what you are doing in athletics. I love it.”

By Kristin Seamon