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Trinity's Katie Marlow-Benedick Excels as a Three-Season Athlete

Hartford, Conn. - For most student-athletes, playing one sport is plenty time consuming, however there are those athletes out there both talented and driven enough to commit to two sports throughout the academic year. Very rarely though do both of those sports stretch from the beginning of the school year until the very end of it. For junior Katie Marlow Benedick (Weston, Mass.), a forward on Trinity's women's soccer team and an All-New England sprinter on the Bantam track and field squads, her commitment begins in August and doesn't stop until the end of May.

The dedication and time-management needed to play a sport year round is almost unthinkable, but Marlow-Benedick not only participates during the three seasons, but excels in them. On the soccer field, she is one of the team's best strikers, as shown by her 11 points on four goals and three assists this fall, of which led the team. On the track, she exploded onto the scene as a rookie, setting college records and earning All-NESCAC and All-New England honors as a sprinter, and followed that with another strong sophomore season in 2017-18, just missing the NCAA National Championships. To her though, the three-season life is normal for her. "I have also been a year round athlete my whole life, so I don’t really know what it would be like to not have practice everyday," she says.

Trinity wasn't on the Massachusetts native's radar until late during her senior year of high school, after she already thought she had the right college for her lined up. For her teammates and coaches here in Hartford, the phrase "better late than never" certainly rings true in her case.

"I actually didn’t even look at Trinity until October of my senior year," explains Marlow-Benedick. "I was pretty much committed to another school, but wasn’t super sure of it last minute. So on Halloween weekend, I drove to Trinity, took a tour and instantly thought it was beautiful. After I drove home, I emailed the soccer coach and told him I was interested in playing and told him my track times as well. I think it was the next day I got a response from Coach Smith and Coach Mason called me on the phone. Over the next few days I had conversations with both coaches, who were very supportive. Ultimately I’d say it was their outreach that made me feel like there was a place for me at the school, and that made me choose Trinity."

A quiet leader, Marlow-Bendick's coaches speak similar sentiment when it comes to her passion for each sport and her work ethic. "Katie is great to coach," said Women's Soccer Head Coach Maggie Crowe. "She can be quiet, but she possesses a natural way of inspiring those around her to push their level of competition through her energy and work rate."

"She works hard for everything she has accomplished," says Track and Field Head Coach John Michael Mason (1st season). "It's good to have her back [with the track team]. She was out here Thursday for day one of the winter season."

As the winter sports season begins, Marlow-Benedick must once again transition from a fall season that saw her enjoy a breakout season on the pitch, to the indoor track season where she'll look to continue to rack up accolades and record times. For her, the transition isn't necessarily easy, but she is used to it. "The transition between soccer and indoor track is hard in the sense that the running we do for soccer is totally different than the running we do at track," she says. "Soccer gets me in good athletic shape, so I am prepared for the demands of track, however the shift to more linear running takes some adjusting. But I love it because it feels good to be in good shape all year round!"

Communication with her coaches is also key as it pertains to her health and fitness between seasons. "Every millisecond matters in track, so communication is paramount when you are talking about form and health," says Coach Mason. "It's not like soccer where you can wrap up a leg and tough it out. So for us, keeping that communication open about how healthy she is and how fresh she is goes a long way."

This fall, Marlow-Benedick set career highs with her 11 points, four goals and three assists, while starting all 15 games for the women's soccer squad. Just because it's the track off-season for her, doesn't mean Coach Mason isn't invested in her successes on the soccer field. "I get nervous, mostly because I want her to do well, but there's also a small part of me that's hoping she doesn't get hurt," he says. "I know how good of an athlete she is and how smart she can be. She can be pretty hard on herself so I try and give her positive reinforcement, but not necessarily empty praise."

Marlow-Benedick's track and field career has been filled with outstanding accomplishments in just two years so far. As a rookie, she earned All-New England indoor honors in the 200-meter dash and added All-New England outdoor honors and All-NESCAC honors in the 200. She also collected All-New England outdoor honors and All-NESCAC honors in the 100-meter dash, and ran a leg of Trinity's 4x100-relay that earned All-New England and All-NESCAC honors while also setting a new college record. Last year as a sophomore, she broke the college's 60-meter and 200-meter dash records and collected All-New England honors in three events.

"Watching Katie shine in track is very prideful. Track is great because Katie's individual efforts can translate more directly into results than is always possible in soccer, so it is great to see her in an environment in which her individual accomplishments directly help her and her teammates in all categories she competes in," says Coach Crowe. "We follow her season from our office, as we do with all of our players who play multiple sports, and we love to remind everyone that Katie is also a women's soccer player. She is a stellar young woman and student athlete so she gives us a lot to brag about."

For Marlow-Benedick, the sacrifice it takes to compete year-round is a part of what has made her experience at Trinity a great one so far. "I am thankful to be able to do both sports at a very high, competitive level," she says. "Trinity has helped me improve immensely as an athlete. I credit my coaches and teammates for pushing me to play beautiful soccer with them and break records with them on the track. Sports teams here have been a great place to connect with really great people and make long time friends. My favorite sports memories at Trinity are when I have home games or home meets and my friends come to support me. It’s so cool to look into the stands and see a bunch of familiar faces watching me do what I love. Moments like that make me proud to be a college athlete."

As academic year turns the page to November, Marlow-Benedick eyes the indoor track season after finishing the soccer season just a short few weeks ago. For her and her coaches, there's no doubt she will excel once again, just as she has done in seasons past.

"I was proud to see Katie have a break out point year this fall, but I was most proud to watch her grow into a more confident player and leader on and off the field," adds Coach Crowe. "She was so reliable, always giving 110% of what she had to give, and she asked for and inspired the best from her teammates at all times. I am so excited to see what she does this year in track as she carries this confidence into the winter season, and of course, to see what her senior year on the field will be like for us next year!"

"I think she's more excited about track now than maybe she was before Trinity because of the success she's found here," says Coach Mason. "She's done very well to this point and her goal is to be a national qualifier if not an All-American. She is the type of person that is capable and has the mindset to do it."

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