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Lauren Hill: 'The Opportunity of a Lifetime'

Lauren Hill: 'The Opportunity of a Lifetime'

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Saginaw Valley State University Athletics resumes its 'Student-Athlete Spotlight' feature focusing on Cardinal student-athletes and what it means for them to be a member of the SVSU Athletics family.

The January 2013 installment of the 'Student-Athlete Spotlight' series highlights Flat Rock, Mich. native Lauren Hill, a senior on the Cardinal women's track and field and cross country teams. Hill is currently in her last semester of eligibility and has had quite the successful career as a Cardinal in sports that she did not plan on competing in when she came to SVSU four years ago. 

Hill was a premiere student-athlete at Flat Rock High School excelling as a three-year participant in basketball and soccer, earning all-region honors in both sports. She also found her stride in her junior season with the track and field team as she qualified for the state track meet in the 1,600 meter run for the Lady Rams. 

During her time at SVSU, Hill has once again excelled both academically and as a leader of the highly successful Lady Cardinals track and field and cross country programs. Hill has compiled a 3.84 grade point average and is currently finishing degrees in both Exercise Science and Psychology. She expects to graduate in May 2013.

The interesting note about Lauren Hill is that cross country was never her main sport in high school and she participated in just one cross country meet as a prep.

Hill finished off her SVSU cross country career in style as the Lady Cardinals competed in their second consecutive NCAA National Championships meet this past fall. Lauren earned All-American designation as she crossed the line in 19th place overall out of 249 participants with a time of 21:05.3 at the 6k race in Missouri.

Most recently on Nov. 30th, Hill broke the SVSU Women's Indoor record in the 5,000 meter run at the first meet of her senior track season with a time of 17:01.62.

Lauren's strong work ethic includes being involved with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as their Community Service Representative. She is currently the Fitness Coordinator on campus as she schedules fitness classes and helps coordinate recreational events such as 'Run the Weight Loss Challenge' and 'Fit Into College' programs. Hill has also taught fitness classes in the Ryder Center for the past two years.

Hill reflects, in her own words, on her experiences as a part of the SVSU women's track and field and cross country teams:

"As a walk-on with the SVSU cross country and track programs my freshman year, I REALLY didn't know what I was getting myself into. Track was never my main sport in high school and I had only ran in one cross country meet. Playing college basketball or soccer had always been a dream, but when those didn't work out, I thought cross country and track 'could' be fun so I decided to try running my freshman year. 

Deciding to run at SVSU was hands down one of the best and most rewarding decisions I have ever made. While it hasn't been easy, battling injury after injury and in the early years just fighting for a spot on the travel roster, being a part of the track and cross program at SVSU has been a life changing experience. These sports are demanding and beat you down mentally and physically day after day, but the support and encouragement from my team, who became family, placed me in an atmosphere where you could become as good as you wanted to be, if you were willing to show up and work day after day.

Over the years, I've been asked many times, "Why do you run?" and for a while, it was just something to do and stay competitive. Over my career at SVSU it has become so much more than that. I have been blessed with the right teammates and coaches who believed in me, my team and our goals. The SVSU Athletics Department has given me opportunities most only dream of getting. I've had a chance to travel across the country competing in meets and National Championships against some of the country's best athletes. As my last semester of competing approaches, I've started to realize how fast these years go by and how much I will miss toeing the line in Cardinal Red and White. I am so thankful someone saw a glimmer of potential in me as a young high school runner, and gave me the opportunity of a life time." - Lauren Hill 

Stay tuned to next month for the January edition of the 'Student-Athlete Spotlight' presented by State Farm.

Click here to view previous Student-Athlete Spotlight segments