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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

What makes Quinnipiac women’s running so dominant? It starts with Carolyn Martin

What+makes+Quinnipiac+women%E2%80%99s+running+so+dominant%3F+It+starts+with+Carolyn+Martin
Courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics

The two programs that are headed by Carolyn Martin at Quinnipiac — women’s cross country and track and field — are some of the most successful teams on campus in the past decade. 

But who is Martin? For starters, a proud Quinnipiac alum. 

“Being a (former) student-athlete here makes my passion run a little bit deeper,” Martin said. “(I’m) really passionate about Quinnipiac … I knew this is what I wanted to pursue full-time. I was a captain, I was an assistant and I was a head coach, I’ve seen every aspect.” 

Now as the leader of the same Bobcats she used to run for, Martin has tried to pass down some of her own wisdom from her collegiate days. 

“Just trying to get some light (to) come to the sport,” senior Liv DeStefano said. “She’s tried a lot to (implement a) ‘Let’s just have fun, we get to do this’ type of vibe, so I think that’s really helped us.” 

Martin’s strategy has worked well historically, as both the cross country and track and field programs had record-setting seasons a year ago. Women’s cross country dominated its way to the MAAC title, and the indoor track team finished second in the conference meet. 

“She’s honestly like the team mom,” DeStefano said. “She’s been able to connect with us individually … When I first got here, it wasn’t as easy to connect with her. She’s been prioritizing meeting people one-on-one.” 

Whether it’s meeting with her runners individually, running with them during practice or just standing off to the side, everyone around her has felt her impact. 

“She’s a really good coach and a really good person,” sophomore Rachel St. Germain said. “It means a lot to me that I can be coached by her, she reminds me a lot of my high school coach and I was very close with him.” 

St. Germain may seem glimpses of her previous coach in her new coach, but Martin said she tries to resemble her own high school teacher, Eunice Hindley. 

“She was my history teacher in high school and she hounded me,” Martin said. “(She) was hugely instrumental in helping me find my passion.” 

Hindley — a Ponaganset Athletic Hall of Famer, along with Martin — led the running programs at Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island from 1978 to 2004. By her side was her daughter Jill Lawrence, a science teacher that took an appreciation for her own student. 

“Carolyn was super bright, a high achieving student,” Lawrence said. “Just someone who smiles all the time. She would be smiling … She was a great student (as well). She had such a tight relationship with my mom.” 

Whether it was in the classroom or running alongside Martin after school, Lawrence was always by her side. Both teacher and pupil still stay in contact — Martin talked to her old science teacher over the winter – and they have glowing words for each other, even 30 years later. Hindley still has old newspaper clippings of Martin hanging in her house. 

Carolyn Martin ran for Ponaganset High
School from 1996-1999 and was inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. (Courtesy of Eunice Hindley)

“I remember my mom talked about Carolyn more than anybody else,” Lawrence said. “She had a really good amount of talent, but she also had this incredible work ethic. The combination of those two is always a recipe for great success.” 

That success in high school, which saw Martin rack up all-state award after all-state award after all-state award, carried over to Quinnipiac. During her time as a Bobcat, she was the NEC Champion in the 10,000 meters. That came right after she won two individual conference titles in the indoor season, and was named to the All-Conference and All-New England teams. 

Those seasons, the last two as captain, set the groundwork for Martin’s coaching career. Whether it’s in recruiting, daily workouts or just trying to get the team to mesh, it all stems from her love of teaching. 

“I taught anatomy and physiology, (and) taught science (at Hamden High School in) my early years,” Martin said. “I can kinda implement my science background, that’s what our training is. I think that helped me to be a good coach.” 

For education majors, the distinction between teaching and coaching runs deep. At the high school level, it’s uncommon to see sports teams have coaches who aren’t teachers in some capacity. Just like Hindley, Lawrence and Martin. 

“For me, I think teaching is very similar to coaching,” Martin said. “You get to work a little closer with individual relationships, but you’re essentially doing the same thing. You’re teaching them more life skills, you’re teaching them more about how to be a team player … I think it’s helpful to be a teacher first.” 

The leadership torch has been passed down from Hindley to Lawrence to Martin, now to DiStefano and current graduate student Emily Young. Those two captains are now tasked with leading this current group of Bobcats, but have a model leader in their corner. 

“She’s always been more mature, ahead of her peers,” Lawrence said. “That’s how she was in high school as well.” 

Similar to herself, Martin looks for passionate kids. The ones who put the team first and those who are willing to push themselves. It doesn’t hurt to be fast too. 

“Yeah, you are looking for the most talented kids,” Martin said. “But especially in our sport … you can get better, so kids who have that drive and have that willingness usually go farther.” 

It was Martin’s own drive that saw her shine in Hamden years ago, the same drive that’s propelling today’s Bobcats toward new heights. 

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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