This is the second installment of "Cat Trax," a series of feature stories that will periodically appear on the UNH athletics Web site.
By Danielle Blais, UNH Athletic Media Relations
DURHAM, N.H. – Not everyone dreams to save the seals as a child, nor can everyone run 60 miles per week. Elizabeth Morrissey (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) does and can. Morrissey is an exceptional senior zoology major and has been named to countless honor rolls. Also adding to her rigorous academic day is her key role on the UNH women’s cross country and track and field teams.
Morrissey began her collegiate career as a freshman in the fall of 2005, running distance. Last spring, Morrissey’s hard work and training finally paid off when she placed eighth in the America East Outdoor Championship in the 3000-meter steeplechase and then went on to place fifth at the New England championships the following weekend. Since last spring, Morrissey has been working harder than ever, even making sure her trip to South Caicos, in the Turks & Caicos Islands, included demanding training.
Having traveled there with The School for Field Studies, also known as SFS, Morrissey and 15 others from across the country set out in mid-July with the “Marine Protected Areas: Management Techniques and Policies” program. As a certified scuba diver, Morrissey “almost died of excitement” when she saw people scuba diving with sharks on the SFS Web site.
“It was about 10,000 degrees every day in South Caicos, and it didn’t matter if I ran in the morning or at night, it always felt the same,” said Morrissey.
Lack of shade in Caicos did not discourage her, as Morrissey said it only made her more determined.
“I finally just decided to suck it up and run as fast as I could for as long as I could. Also, I had a couple of encounters with territorial wild donkeys and dogs, so I definitely got to work on my sprinting ability,” added Morrissey.
Now that summer is over, Morrissey is back to training and competing with the rest of the Wildcats. According to Morrissey, the team is solid and has a strong chance of winning an America East title. But things haven’t always been so easy for her.
“I run all the time now, and I actually enjoy the increased intensity,” Morrissey said. “Freshman year my main goal in practice was keeping up with everyone else as best as I could and not passing out in the middle of workouts.”
Three years ago, things would have been much different. But now, bringing extra intensity to her workouts is enjoyable. As for being a collegiate athlete, Morrissey says things get difficult trying to balance school and sports, but when she is stressed she goes running. Problem solved.
After college, Morrissey plans to “save the world.” If that doesn’t pan out as expected, she plans to attend graduate school.
“UNH has been an amazing experience for me,” said Morrissey “It’s also absolutely beautiful up here and I like that I can play in the ocean in the morning and be hiking in the mountains in the same day.”
Morrissey and the rest of the Wildcat squad return to action Saturday, Sept. 20, when they travel to Central Connecticut State University. The race begins at noon at Stanley Quarter Park.