MORGANTOWN — Caroline Kirby began running because of a program called Girls on the Run.
“I started running through a youth program called Girls on the Run when I was nine years old,” she said. “That’s when I was first introduced to the sport. I started competitive running when I was in middle school at 12 years old.”
A Morgantown native, Kirby is a 2021 graduate of University High School. She is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University on the cross-country and track teams.
As a freshman last season, Kirby ran a new personal-best in the 5,000-meter with a time of 17:32.61 at the ACC Outdoor Championships.
“Competing at ACC’s was a goal of mine my entire freshmen season,” she said. “The ACC is arguably the fastest and toughest conference for distance running in the NCAA. Running at a meet like that was a learning experience for me, and a race that I will remember throughout my college career. It taught me a lot, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to race at a meet of that caliber. Also, seeing many of my teammates have incredible races was extremely motivating and inspiring.”
Kirby set a new personal record in the 1,500-meter at the Cortland Classic with a time of 4:39.46. She won the 1,500-meter at the Cortland Upstate Alternative with a time of 4:46.08. She placed third in the mile at the Deneault Invitational with a time of 5:14.62. She set a personal record in the mile at the 2022 Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational with a time of 5:10.76.
“Just being a part of such an amazing and talented team has been a memorable experience,” she said. “From morning long runs, to traveling to meets, to normal, everyday practices, it has all been extremely fun and rewarding. Being on such a very talented team is one thing but being on a team with your best friends is more than I could’ve asked for.”
Kirby is looking forward to the future.
“I am very excited for my sophomore season,” she said. “We have an incredibly talented team this year, recently ranking 15th in the nation. I am excited to continue training and racing with such a talented group of women and doing everything I can to contribute to this incredible program.”
Kirby enjoyed her time as a Hawk.
“Running at UHS gave me some of my most exciting and memorable moments of high school,” she said. “Being a part of a team with such success was extremely rewarding and really shaped me into the athlete and person I am today.
“Winning states for the 5th time in a row my sophomore year was one of the most-memorable moments of my high school career. That was a goal we had been working towards since I arrived at University High, and finally accomplishing it made that season so memorable. We had an incredible group of girls on the team and seeing all our hard work pay off that day really was special.”
Kirby is happy she decided to attend Syracuse University.
“The incredible coaching staff and team played a large factor in my decision to attend Syracuse University,” she said. “Hearing the vision for the program, and how I could be a part of something larger than myself, sold me on going Orange and I have never doubted my decision. Not only are the girls extremely driven and motivated, but we all work to make each other better as a unit, not just as individual runners. The coaches are some of the best in the NCAA, and they really know how to work to earn the success we have, but do not sacrifice the fun and joy of the sport.
“Besides the incredible team culture and coaching staff, the university itself is incredible. Being motivated every day to be the best student-athlete I can be, as well as having an amazing support system behind me is one of the best things about attending Syracuse University. Having such amazing support in the athletic department, such as our academic coordinators and tutors, has really made the transition to college very smooth for me.”
Kirby is majoring in Health and Exercise Science, with a minor in Coaching.
“For now, my plans for graduation would be to transition into coaching, continuing my love for the sport,” she said. “I would love to coach within the NCAA and try and spread my own knowledge of the sport. I also would love to become an athletic trainer specializing in women’s health. I am very passionate about female athletes striving for success, while not sacrificing their own health and well-being in the process.”