Sarah Keiran, an accounting major with a women’s studies minor, has been a contributor for the ‘Cats since her first season with the team in 2013. The Massachusetts native was attracted to the school for both academics and team dynamics. Usually a prospective high school athlete only uses one of five of the official visits they are allowed by the NCAA when visiting a school for athletics. Keiran ended up absorbing herself in the cross-country team right away, using four of her five official visits.
Upon deciding on UNH, she said that she informed her twin sister, Tina Keiran, to choose another school. Tina now runs for the University of Vermont.
Keiran has a unique role on the team. As a senior captain, she has had plenty of experience over her years here and understands that it’s a team effort every race. This is evident by her supporting teammates and working with two talented freshmen this year, essentially taking them under her wing.
“[Head coach Robert Hoppler] has basically had me carry them [through races]. Obviously it’s their first year, they didn’t know anything about college running and he just kind of threw them in there and a lot of our race plans were ‘go with Sarah’,” Keiran said. “I like it. It’s honestly more comforting to know you’re not alone and it helps you trust your teammates.”
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of her journey at UNH is that she is the only woman in program history who has raced in four straight America East Championship races every year since she came to UNH. What’s even more remarkable is that those teams have won it those same four years in a row, something that is almost unheard of.
Speaking highly of her team’s most recent accomplishment, winning the America East championship, it is clear Keiran is passionate about her teammates and has helped facilitate a close team.
“I like to think I develop relationships with everyone in every grade pretty easily,” Keiran said on her leadership. “I run better when I run with my teammates. I actually perform better with people than individually; the end results are better.”
Keiran also reflects on winning the programs fourth consecutive conference championship, and the emotion that consumed her during the event.
“It was real emotional being on that line… It’s just ten of us against eighty. So it’s just overwhelming and at the same time so much fun knowing that all the work you put in with these girls is going to pay off and it did,” Keiran said. “I came in with Hannah Kimball, Amanda Szymanski and Ellie Purrier. A few other girls too but I’ve been really close with them and this was the first time we ran the conference meet together. I have no other words to describe it. It was the best.”
Keiran will run at the upcoming regional meet and still has indoor and outdoor track left for her senior year. Keiran believes it’s that the lasting memory will not be accolades, but friendships made.
“The people you meet. One hundred percent. I met my best friend through this team and she made such a good point. Yeah I might not remember my personal records or what place I got but I’m always going to remember who I did it with,” Keiran said.